5 Excellent Health Benefits of Dry Needling

November 7, 2021
10 MIN

You've probably heard of dry needling therapy before. It's a treatment performed by licensed health care specialists used to treat various neuromuscuoskeletal conditions. In this article, we'll show you five health benefits of dry needling, and we'll answer the question everyone asks, "Is dry needling painful?"

1. Quick Pain Relief

Often, patients notice a reduction in their pain before they even leave the office. Dry needling uses fine filiform needles to penetrate trigger points (muscle knots) and the surrounding tissues to relax the musculature and increase blood flow, thus reducing pain. Trigger points can be found in any muscle of the body. The most common muscles that we treat with dry needling are: 

  • Suboccipital muscles: These muscles attach from the base of the skull and insert on the neck vertebrae. They (along with others) are often responsible for headaches. See this article for more information about dry needling and headaches.
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar paraspinal muscles: These muscles run along the spine and are important postural muscles.
  • Rhomboid muscles: Ever get an annoying pain between your shoulder blades that doesn't go away. The rhomboid muscles are usually responsible.
  • Deltoid muscles: These shoulder muscles are a great place to dry needle for shoulder pain, especially for overhead athletes.
  • Gluteal muscles: This is a great area to treat low back pain, sciatic pain, and other low back and pelvic conditions.
  • Quadriceps and surrounding knee muscles: Did you know that studies show that dry needling effectively treats knee osteoarthritis? We often treat the quads and surrounding knee musculature for knee osteoarthritis pain. 
  • And more! We can treat almost any muscle of the body with dry needling. Set up an exam with us to see if dry needling is suitable for you.

2. Increased Range of Motion

Dry needling helps to improve range of motion by decreasing trigger points and relaxing the musculature. When muscles get tight, they may not function optimally, reducing joint range of motion. It is thought that trigger points are the result of muscle fibers (sarcomeres) that become overactive. This overactivity causes local inflammation, reduced blood flow, pain, and shortening of the muscle fibers. Dry needling therapy aims to create micro-lesions in the musculature to increase the healing response, reduce inflammation, relax the muscles, and decrease pain. 

3. Reduction of Inflammation

A local healing response takes place when micro-lesions are present as a result of dry needling. This healing response includes increasing the number of white blood cells and blood flow to the area. With increased blood flow and white blood cells, the site is ready to heal the dysfunctional tissue.

4. Increase Blood Flow

Dry needling stimulates blood flow and circulation in the treatment area. Increasing blood flow is essential because it increases the number of white blood cells and other factors responsible for healing the affected tissue.

5. Regulation of Central Nervous System

Some patients may have an upregulated (or hyper-active) central nervous system (CNS) which is often responsible for chronic pain and other conditions. Dry needling can help to regulate the CNS by stimulating these neural pathways.

Is dry needling painful?

Dry needling involves the use of fine monofilament needles. These needles are different than needles used for injection (wet needling). Needles used for injection require an opening for a substance to travel through - sometimes requiring a larger diameter. Dry needling needles are typically between 0.15 to 0.30mm in diameter. For reference, insulin needles (which are among the smallest needles available for injections) are usually around 0.261 to 0.34mm in diameter, while needles for vaccine injections are generally about 0.50mm to 0.70mm.*1 In general, the smaller the diameter of the needles, the less pain and better patient compliance. 

The needles we use are sterile single-use needles made from surgical stainless steel. If you have a metal allergy, you can request gold-plated needles for treatment (please call our office before scheduling to ensure we have gold-plated needles in stock). 

Sometimes during the procedure, you may feel an achy sensation or a tingling feeling that radiates to other areas. If you feel any of these sensations, let your chiropractor know, and they will adjust the needle accordingly to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. 

Bruising and soreness are common occurrences that may be a result of dry needling. Discuss these and other potential side effects with your chiropractor before treatment. 

If you have any discomfort after the treatment, let your chiropractor know so that they can adjust the treatment accordingly.


  1. Gill HS, Prausnitz MR. Does needle size matter? J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2007 Sep;1(5):725-9. DOI: 10.1177/193229680700100517. PMID: 19885141; PMCID: PMC2769648.

Pro Tip:
Order any Thorne product(s) from the links on this page and receive 5% OFF and FREE SHIPPING on all future orders. (When you create your account you will be prompted to confirm RYSE Chiropractic as your referral. Discount applied in cart after account created. View Professional Connection on your Thorne Profile page.) You can also visit our dispensary here.
Medical Advice Disclaimer
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Book your visit with us.

Book Now


Dr. Ryan Savoie, DC, CIDN
Dr. Ryan Savoie, DC, CIDN
Originally published in
contributed by
Orignial Publication Date:
This post was last updated on:
November 14, 2021


Select a location to view services offered.
RYSE Mark Logo

Moss Bluff, LA

RYSE Chiropractic
View Info >Book Now

Make wellness a lifestyle.

Moss Bluff, LA
Have questions?
We're here to help.
Thank you! Your submission has been received! We'll reach out to you ASAP!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.