Dry Needling/Trigger Point Acupuncture

What it is: A modern form of acupuncture, based on treating tight muscles or “knots.”
Main Focus: Treatment of muscles
What it’s used for: Headaches, neck tension, sciatica and other pain syndromes.


Dry needling, also known as trigger point dry needling,is the use of solid needles (a.k.a acupuncture needles)  for the treatment of pain. Dry needling is sometimes also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS). Dry needling is one type of acupuncture.

Dry needling is focused on locating and treating what are known as “trigger points.”  Trigger points are taut, tender bands in the muscle tissue.  These are often located on or close to the traditional acupuncture points.  Pressing on these points can cause pain where they are or a “radiating” pain sensation.  These are often found when a person is experiencing sciatica symptoms (pain in the buttocks radiating down the leg).  Treating the trigger points will very often reduce or eliminate the radiating pain, producing tremendous relief for the patient.

Many physical therapists and chiropractors now offer dry needling.  The traditional acupuncture technique is very similar. Both require a detailed knowledge  of anatomy and a high degree of precision. In our clinic we tend to use thinner needles with a lighter technique, to give the patient a more comfortable and effective experience.

Dry needling or trigger point acupuncture also requires an extensive knowledge of the trigger point locations and their pain patterns.  To be successful in treating trigger points, one also has to eliminate the “perpetuating factors,” or behaviors that keep the trigger points going.  This means things like sleep and work position, how a person sits, and how they move at work.