Have you ever wondered, what is Dry Needling? Look no further because here is a summary of why Physical Therapy clinics such as Center for Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy use it.
~Written by Shannon Samluk, Rockhurst University, CAPPTAZ Intern
According to the APTA…
Dry needling is an intervention that involves inserting a filiform needle into the skin and targeting myofasical trigger points and connective tissues to help aide in the management of musculoskeletal and movement impairments. Dry needling can be used to treat many impairments and helps to restore body function and return to normal activities symptom free.

How it works…
Dry needling targets the trigger points in the muscle causing an increased blood flow to the area and relaxing the trigger point itself. It has causes a depolarization of the pain fibers interrupting the pain cycle. Along with interrupting the pain cycle, endorphins are also released that provide a natural analgesic effect. When the needle is inserted into the tissue, microtrauma is caused initiating the body’s natural healing process.
Dry needling is used to inactivate trigger points through a local twitch response

  • Local twitch response à spinal cord reflex characterized by involuntary contraction which is produced by the needle
    • This helps to reduce the number of inflammatory chemicals and to relax the tissue
  • Goals: Reduce pain, improve range of motion, reduced irritability of trigger points, helps restore local circulation

Kinetacore areas of caution…

  • Supra-clavicular triangle
  • Thoracic spine and ribcage
  • Thoraco-lumbar junction to L2
  • Iliac crest
  • Sacral/coccyx/ buttock
  • Femoral triangle
  • Cubital and popliteal fossa
Indications for Use:
·         Restricted range of motion
·         Soft tissue restrictions
·         Radiculopathies
·         Joint dysfunction
·         Tendonitis
·         Craniomandibular dysfunction
·         Migraines
·         Tension- type headaches
·         Carpal tunnel syndrome
·         Whiplash associated disorders
·         Spinal dysfunction
·         Pelvic pain/ urologic syndromes
·         Post- herpetic neuralgia
·         Complex regional pain syndrome
·         Phantom pain…and many others
Precautions/ Contraindications:
·         Needle aversion/ fear
·         Patients with cognitive impairment
·         Patients who are unable to communicate directly or via interpreter
·         Patients with local skin lesions
·         Local or systemic infections
·         Local lymphedema
·         Severe hyperalgesia or allodynia
·         Some patients may be allergic to certain metals used in the needle like nickel or chromium (instead use silver or gold plated needles)
·         Patients with bleeding disorders
·         Patients with a compromised immune system
·         First trimester of pregnancy
·         Vascular disease
·         Surgical procedures

Adverse Effects

  • Initial soreness
  • Local hemorrhages at needling site
  • Syncopal responses
  • Pneumothorax

If you are a Physical Therapist and would like to know more about what organizations to use to get certified, below is some info for you. Look out for course hosted by Center for Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy in the NEW YEAR!
 Dry Needling Certification
Please note: the courses below are NOT for the general population, but for health/medical personal.
Dry Needling Certification


  • Founder Edo Zylstra developed his courses off of his IntraMuscular Stimulation training as well as many philosophies on dry needling. He utilized his knowledge of chronic pain management and worked with a physician, together they used a live fluoroscopy to develop a technique in which every specific muscle has its own approach, safety is always a main concern. Each individual muscle is treated through its function and how that muscle relates to the body, movement, and pain. Edo believes in treating segments and referral patterns in a minimal way to lower the number of needles needed and to achieve immediate and lasting results.

Center For Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy

  • Look out for dates on our website in which CAPPTAZ co-hosts with an organization for Dry Needling courses that are affordable, local, and a lot of fun. https://rebuildingchampions.com

Stay tuned!!

  • There are two major schools of thought in the pain science literature. The first is that once pain becomes chronic, input from peripheral nociceptors contributes little or not at all to the current pain. A second way of thinking is, even in chronic pain states, peripheral nociceptive input can be activated and maintain the pain experience. Myopain works on the basis that persistent peripheral nociceptive input contributes to chronic pain stress. If you remove the nociceptive input, clinicians can help patients with chronic pain issues. Myopain works in a biospychosocial pain management approach.


  1. Description of Dry Needling in Clinical Practice: an Educational Resource Paper. APTA website. http://www.apta.org/StateIssues/DryNeedling/ Published February 2013. Accessed November 2015.
  2. Dry Needling. Arizona Bone and Joint Specialist Website. http://www.azbone.com/patient-education/physical-therapy/dry-needling Published 2015. Accessed November 2015.
  3. KinetaCore History. KinetaCore Physical Therapy Education Website. https://www.kinetacore.com/physical-therapy/KinetaCore-History/page225.html Published 2015. Accessed 2015.
  4. KinetaCore Dry Needling Training. KinetaCore Physical Therapy Evaluation Website. https://www.kinetacore.com/physical-therapy/Functional-Dry-Needling-Level-2-Training/page18.html Published 2015. Accessed November 2015.
  5. Ma Systemic Dry Needling Approach. Dr. Ma’s Systematic Dry Needling Website. https://www.systemicdryneedling.com/about/ Published 2015. Accessed November 2015.
  6. MyoPain Dry Needling Courses. MyoPain Seminars Website. https://myopainseminars.com/dn-1/ Published 2015. Accessed 2015.