What exactly is dry needling?

Dry needling, often referred to as medical acupuncture, is a special treatment used by physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other highly educated professionals in the field of physical therapy and medicine, with the purpose of reducing pain and increasing mobility in the musculoskeletal system. 

The technique is western (not Chinese as most people believe) medicine in which acupuncture needles are used and applied directly into the muscular system of the body to reduce muscle tension, reduce pain in the treated area, initiate tissue regeneration, and increase the mobility of the joint attached to the treated muscle. 

The technique is very safe and effective in the hands of a specialist who is properly trained for it. 

Dry needling lumbalne kralježnice
Dry needling i cupping

How does dry needling work?

Dry needling has several proposed mechanisms of action, but it is believed that 3 or 4 mechanisms are the most accurate. The most logical and accepted mechanism of action in the physical therapy profession is the mechanical mechanism. The mechanical mechanism works by creating micro trauma (which is not large enough for permanent damage) in the treated area by means of a needle puncture and stimulating the process of tissue regeneration by means of the same micro trauma and bringing nutrients such as oxygen and protein with the circulation to the target tissue. 

The effect of dry needling on the nervous system occurs at 3 levels:

  1. Peripheral nervous mechanisms - dry needling of skin and muscle needling activates nociceptors that induce analgesia
  2. Segmental nervous mechanisms - act by applying the needle to a painful spot to facilitate nerve mechanisms in the spinal cord 
  3. Central nervous mechanisms - mechanisms in the brain 

A cross section of 11 scientific studies involving 802 patients with lumbar spine pain, proved that dry needling of pain points in the target muscles was shown to be highly effective in reducing pain and increasing patient functionality.

Ad Sacrum
Based on reviews
powered by Google

History of dry needling

Dry needling as a technique was invented by chance as Dr. Janet Travell (in the picture) in 1940. noticed the existence of muscle “trigger points” and recommended the use of injections in the same. They started using intradermal needles containing medicinal products such as corticosteroids and analgesics that were seen to have a positive effect. They then experimented with saline (infusion) and noticed that they were getting the same effect as the drugs. In this way, they assumed that there was no need to administer the drug and that the needle itself helped the symptomatology related to the “trigger points”.


In 1979. Czech physiatrist Dr. Karel Lewit finally concluded that the positive effects of using the technique were related solely to mechanical needle stimulation and not to drug administration. After this conclusion, he separated the term “wet "needling from” dry" needling.


Nowadays dry needling is used by medical professionals from all over the world. Usually in charge of the application of the same are technique are physiotherapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, and osteopaths. The technique has become increasingly popular over the years due to its quick and effective action to reduce pain and Increase movement. 




Frequently asked questions about technology:

Short answer: No. 

Longer answer: most patients are afraid of pain from needle puncture that dry needling practically does not have because the needle is extremely thin and quickly penetrates the skin. 

The feeling rather than the pain would be called discomfort because the muscles "spasm" while the needle is being applied. 

The technique is applied to a large number of problems in the musculoskeletal system.

Ideal problems for dry needling application are:

  • pain in the lumbar spine
  • sciatica (tingling in the legs)
  • pain in the cervical spine
  • cervicobrachial syndrome (tingling in the hands)
  • pain in the area of the shoulder blades and thoracic spine
  • problems with hips and knees
  • problems with shoulders and elbows

After the treatment, it is necessary to drink more water and have a good rest. The body will be in an inflammatory state for the next few days and heavy physical work and strain are not desirable. 

Also, if necessary after the treatment, pain medicine can be taken. 

After a few days the inflammatory process will pass and you can continue to behave normally. 

Feel free to attach the report of a specialist doctor
Your subscription is not confirmed. Please try again.
Your application is successful!

Email list

Sign up for our e-mail list and stay up to date with the latest information and advice in physical therapy and medicine.