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Trigger Point Dry Needling

As Physical Therapists trained in trigger point dry needling, we have the knowledge and skills to reduce pain and improve function with this helpful treatment strategy.

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling (TPDN)? 

​TPDN is a technique used to reduce muscle pain and dysfunction.  It uses fine, solid filament needles (similar to acupuncture needles) that are sterile, single use, and disposable. The needles are inserted through the skin into the underlying tissues and muscles at specific points known as myofascial trigger points. When a twitch response is obtained, the trigger point is released resulting in reduced pain, improved mobility, and improved activation patterns.

Conditions that TPDN can help:

  • Headaches and neck pain

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain 

  • Low back pain

  • Hip and knee pain

  • Runners knee

  • Shoulder pain

  • Tennis elbow and golfer's elbow

What to expect with TPDN? 

​Your therapist will identify your pain and limitations associated with myofascial trigger points.  These trigger points, sometimes referred to as "knots", develop due to injury, pain, altered movement patterns, poor posture, and/or repetitive actions.  The needle is inserted into the most tender and restricted point in the muscle. You may feel a strong ache and/or involuntary muscle twitch which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.  Following treatment soreness may be present for 1-2 days.

How do I know TPDN is right for me? 

Indications for TPDN:

  • Myofascial trigger points

  • Tender nodule ("knot") within taut band

  • Reproduction of pain complaints with palpation

  • Painful limits of range of motion

  • Muscle weakness as a result of muscle inhibition power

  • Painful scars

Precautions/Contraindications for TPDN:

  • Metal allergy

  • Needle phobia

  • Existing infection at treatment site

  • Acute cardiac arrhythmia

  • Lymphedema

  • Pregnancy

  • Blood thinners

Learn more about our other services

Dry Needling by a Physical Therapist: What You Should Know

As part of their entry-level education, physical therapists are well educated in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body. Physical therapists who perform dry needling supplement that knowledge by obtaining specific postgraduate education and training.