Let’s talk about dry needling

March 26, 2024

Dry needling is a newer technique that has revolutionized the way our team in Omaha treats pain, muscle tension, and scar tissue. We have some amazing science to back up the treatment and is an absolute game-changer for the patients who have received this treatment.

Many newcomers to dry needling associate it closely with acupuncture, and it’s understandable why. Whereas traditional acupuncture involves meridian lines, chi energy, acupuncture points and is rooted in Chinese Medicine. When performing dry needling, our therapists in Omaha use a thin filiform needle, the same needles as acupuncture, to penetrate the skin and stimulate the underlying trigger points, musculature and connective tissue to help manage neuromuscular pain. Our goal is to get a twitch response to essentially help the muscle return to its relaxed state (there’s a fancy mechanism, promise). From a treatment perspective, acupuncture and dry needling are completely different things.

Soooo, how does dry needling therapy work exactly?

Well, what we know is that a specific area of tight muscle, known as a trigger point, has a reduced amount of blood flow, which ultimately decreases the amount of oxygen in that area. This makes the area more acidic and your body responds to these changes with a biochemical signal to your brain to give you a message of pain, tightness, throbbing, discomfort etc. When we insert the needle into the trigger point, it produces what’s known as a local twitch response. It feels like a small cramp or involuntary muscle contraction (normally very small). When this happens, blood flow to that area returns, oxygen levels rise, and the proper pH is restored. This results in your brain no longer giving pain signals to that area.

Well what happens after?

Normally, patients notice immediate positive change in pain, tension and range of motion. It’s common to get some stiffness similar to what you would experience after a hard workout, but this typically resolves within 24 hours.

What sort of things is it used for?


In our clinic we use it to treat:

  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle activation
  • Muscle inhibition
  • Pain
  • Scar tissue
  • Sensation changes
  • And more!

While dry needling is an amazing technique that is valuable for so many conditions, it’s not a magic cure all when used by itself. Alongside this modality, we need to continually figure out the WHY behind everything we are treating in order to have lasting results. You are a WHOLE person and NONE of your muscles work in isolation. Contact our dry-needling therapists in Omaha or your healthcare provider to find out if this treatment would be beneficial for you!


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