Dry Needling

Dry Needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle to stimulate the healing process of soft tissues (muscle “trigger points”, fascia, tendons and ligaments, etc.). The result of dry needling is pain relief and restoration of healthy physiology.

East Texas Physical Therapy Services offers dry needling sessions at our clinic. Dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic pain (of neuropathic origin) with very few side effects. Our dry needling certified physical therapists are highly-trained and committed to excellence and quality care for all patients.

Dry Needling

Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Needling

What is a "trigger point"?

A “trigger point” is a hyperirritable point in a muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule, or “knot.” This area becomes painful at the site and can also “radiate” in predictable patterns.

Does it hurt?

A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle. However if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp (the “twitch” response).

What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

The objectives and philosophy behind the use of dry needling by physical therapists is not based on ancient theories or tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. The performance of modern dry needling by physical therapists is based on Western Neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Both Dry Needling and Acupuncture do, however, use the same tool; a solid needle filament.

Who can benefit from Dry Needling?

Almost anyone experiencing a variety of pain problems including, but not limited to:

  • Acute/Chronic injuries
  • HeadachesNeck
  • Back pain
  • Tendinitis Muscle Spasms
  • “Sciatica”Hip/ Knee pain
  • Muscle strains
  • Fibromyalgia
  • “Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow”
  • Patellar Femoral
  • Pain Syndrome (PFPS)Overuse injuries

Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?

Side effects may vary among individuals. Typically, only mild muscle soreness or skin bruising.

What is electro-stimulation?

Electro-stimulation (ES) is a treatment similar to dry needling or acupuncture where fine needles are placed in the affected tissue and are connected via cables to a small electro-stimulation unit. It can be used to treat acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions including:

  • Soft tissue: spasm, strains, cramping, trigger points, tightness
  • Joint pathologies: sprains, arthritis, joint stiffness, disc pathologies
  • Nerve damage: neuropathy and radiculopathy
  • Pain

How does it work?

Electro-Stimulation improves the circulation of natural analgesics (endorphines and opioids) in order to reduce pain. Blood circulation is also stimulated, promoting the delivery of nutrients to tissue, speeding up the healing processes.

Low frequency/high intensity Electro-Stimulation produces long term pain relief building up over several hours post treatment.

High frequency/low intensity Electro-Stimulation produces fast acting, short term pain relief by blocking nerve pathways and preventing pain messages from travelling to the brain.

In the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal conditions, long term benefits can be gained by producing visible twitching. In acute conditions or where nerve damage is present, stimulation is purely sensory (i.e visible twitching is not necessary to produce change).

Why choose ELECTRO-STIMULATION over regular dry needling?

  • Electro-Stimulation results are more rapid & longer lasting.
  • Electro-Stimulation is readily controlled, standardised and objectively measured.
  • Electro-Stimulation allows stronger, more continuous stimulation than Dry Needling or Acupuncture and produces less tissue damage.

How is electro-stimulation performed?

Electro-Stimulation is implemented as part of a Remedial Massage, Osteopathy treatment, which may also include other forms of soft tissue and manual therapy. Fine needles are placed in the affected tissue and are connected via cables to a small electro-stimulation unit. The Electro-Stimulation treatment last about 10-15 minutes. You will be free to go about your usual activities post treatment.


The side effects are few when performed by a qualified therapist. You may experience some bruising or redness around the insertion point or some aching in the muscle similar to other Osteopathic technique responses. Your practitioner will discuss with you if they feel that Electro-Stimulation via Dry Needling will be of benefit to you.