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Dry Needling Saskatoon

acupuncture needlesDry needling is a specialized physiotherapy technique that is very effective in treating neuromuscular pain and dysfunction, including muscle tightness that has led to further musculoskeletal issues.

What is dry needling?

The practice of dry needling is quite distinct from other forms of physiotherapy treatment in the following ways:

  • It is highly precise in targeting the problematic muscle(s) and/or tissue.
  • It is one of the few non-surgical methods that can be employed beyond superficial treatment of the muscles and tissue.
  • It can influence the nervous system and be used to either activate or deactivate different regions of the body through the muscle tissue.

Benefits of dry needling

Dry needling can be used as the primary treatment for pain management or tension reduction. It can also be used as an assisting mode of treatment along with other techniques to achieve mobility, function, fitness, and/or activity goals of the patient. Dry needling is especially effective in decreasing muscle tension and releasing trigger points – taut bands of hyperirritable muscle tissue.

Dry needling can treat the following:

Muscle pain

Dry needling can be effective in alleviating muscle pain, including back, neck, shoulder pain, and other areas affected by muscle tightness or spasms.

Chronic pain

It can help manage chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome by targeting specific trigger points that contribute to ongoing discomfort.


Dry needling may be utilized as part of the treatment plan for sports-related and other injuries, such as muscle strains, ligament sprains, and overuse injuries, to promote muscle recovery and alleviate pain.

Headaches and migraines

It can be used to address muscle tension and trigger points in the neck and shoulder region that often contribute to tension headaches and migraines.

Joint pain and stiffness

By targeting surrounding muscles and trigger points, dry needling may help improve joint mobility and reduce pain associated with conditions such as arthritis or joint stiffness.

Post-surgery rehabilitation

It can be used as a part of post-surgery rehabilitation programs to help manage pain, reduce muscle tension, and improve range of motion.

Nerve pain

Dry needling may help alleviate nerve-related pain caused by conditions such as sciatica or other nerve entrapment syndromes by releasing muscle tension and promoting better nerve function.

What to expect during a dry needling session

As a physiotherapist certified in dry needling, Scott offers this service as a treatment option and as an enhancement to complement your current treatment plan. A thin pin-like needle will be used to directly target the area(s) of concern identified through your diagnosis. The needle will penetrate the muscle and will be carefully manipulated in order to release tightness and work knots leading to pain relief and improved range of motion.

Does dry needling hurt?

The sensation of dry needling is interpreted differently by everyone, but don’t let the thought of needles deter you from considering this treatment technique. Patients often experience long sought after pain relief with dry needling while other treatments may not have been as effective. Some may feel little to no discomfort while others might feel a prick, deep ache, cramp, and/or muscle twitch. The duration and severity of discomfort is dependent on the anatomy and physiological condition that the tissue being treated is in. Overall, the level of discomfort may range from none to mild or moderate though the potential results can be considerably beneficial.

Dry needling vs acupuncture

Dry needling vs acupuncture is a common question we get and there are some notable differences to consider.

The origins of acupuncture stem from eastern medicine. This technique aims to restore balance to the body through the “qi” or energy system. Dry needling originates in western medicine with principles rooted in neuromuscular theories.

Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of both physical and mental conditions while dry needling is employed to alleviate muscle pain, dysfunction, and aims to improve an overall capacity to participate in life activities.

In acupuncture the needles are inserted into the body and left in place for a duration of time. In contrast to this, the needles can be actively manipulated in dry needling to generate a neuromuscular response. Both dry needling and acupuncture serve a purpose when treating neuromuscular conditions of the body, they just do so in distinct ways.

Does dry needling hurt after the appointment?

You may feel a deep ache or bruise the following day or two after having dry needling. The deep ache is a response of the neuromuscular system, and the bruising is a small amount of blood around the area promoting healing after the treatment. Each of these are normal to experience after dry needling and should only last temporarily.

How to prepare for your appointment

  • Wear comfortable clothing – the skin needs to be exposed for dry needling so dress comfortably that also allows the practitioner easy access to the area needing treatment.
  • Relief can be experienced in the 24 to 48 hours following your treatment, and in some cases may be noticed immediately.
  • Drink extra water – hydration is key to helping your muscles stay in a state of relaxation.
  • It’s ok to feel nervous, your therapist will answer all your questions and be a calming and reassuring influence.

Book a dry needling treatment with Scott today.


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