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What is Dry Needling?

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What is dry needling?

Physiotherapists uses a variety of treatment techniques of which dry needling is one. For those who have never heard of dry needling, it is the practice of inserting fine needles, usually acupuncture needles into trigger points (focal areas of muscle spasm) in muscles to reduce tension and pain in the body. The term “dry” refers to the fact that no fluid is inserted or removed. Sometimes we insert needles into trigger points and attach electrodes to them to further release muscle spasm. This technique is called, Gokavi Transverse Technique.

“WHAT?! How can poking me with needles make me feel better?”

We hear you and here are the mechanisms by which dry needling works:

  1. Locally
    Alters muscle fiber length and tension
    Changes local blood flow
    b. Stimulates local chemical release
    c. Promotes your body’s natural heal response
  2. Centrally
    Your brain/spinal cord are influenced by the release of neurochemicals
    Endorphins (your natural opioids) and corticosteroids (your anti-inflammatories) are released, resulting in pain reduction


Some patients feel a small pinprick sensation as dry needling typically isn’t very painful. Sometimes a muscle is very tight and upon needling you may feel the muscle twitch suddenly. This “twitch response” is a great sign! It means the muscle is releasing tension.


Recently a patient Rose, booked a visit in our Calgary location. She had tennis elbow from sitting typing at a computer desk all day. We used dry needling to help release the local muscle tension while we treated her forearm and shoulders. The benefit of the dry needling was felt almost immediately. Rose continued to improve and after two visits she was back to normal.


We are here to help you live a pain free life!

 If you are suffering from any type of pain or would like to know more information about dry needling, get in touch with our team at Brentwood Physiotherapy.

Call now 403-282-8050



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