Dry Needling

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Effects of Dry Needling

Dry needling is becoming a more popular treatment for neck and back pain. It is utilized to enhance range of motion and decrease pain. The needle is inserted at various points during the course of treatment. The study looked at the change in blood flow when dry kneeling was used.

What it showed was when the dry needle was inserted in the trapezius muscle there is an increase in blood flow for 15 minutes post treatment. The increase blood flow occurred at the site of the needle. Additional locations were measured throughout the trap on the opposite side and 30 mm from the insertion point. The peripheral sites did not show an increase in blood flow, indicating that most of the effect was at the treatment site.

This study is helping us to understand the effects of dry needling and how it can benefit patients. Dry needling is a therapy that will be utilized more and more for different types of treatments and conditions. Understanding its effects will help it to be incorporated into treatment plans.

Below is the abstract from the study for your reading pleasure. More information from Physical Therapy Chandler can be found on our site.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

Volume 35, Issue 9 , Pages 685-691, November 20128

The Influence of Dry Needling of theTrapezius Muscle on Muscle Blood Flow and Oxygenation

Barbara Cagnie, PT, PhD, Tom Barbe, PT, ElineDe Ridder, PT, Jessica Van Oosterwijck, PT, PhD, Ann Cools, PT, PhD, LievenDanneels, PT, PhD



The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of dry needling on the blood flow and oxygen saturation of the trapezius muscle.


Twenty healthy participants participatedin this study. One single dry needling procedure was performed in the right upper trapezius, at a point located midway between the acromion edge and the seventh cervical vertebrae. Using the oxygen to see device, blood flow and oxygen saturation were evaluated at the treated point and 3 distant points (similar point in the left upper trapezius and 30 mm laterally from this midpoint). Measurements were taken at baseline and in the recovery period (0, 5, and 15 minutes posttreatment).


After removal of the needle, the blood flow and oxygen saturation increased significantly from the pretreatment level in the treated point (P = .001), and these values remained high throughout the 15-minute recovery period. There were only minor changes in the distant points.


These results suggest that dry needling enhances the blood flow in the stimulated region of the trapezius muscle but not in a distant region used in this study.

© 2012 National University of Health Sciences. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. PubMed

Alpha Chiropractic & Physical Therapy believes in combing the specialties and experiences of a medical physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapists for treating injuries. This comprehensive treatment approach often produces better results in less time by addressing the muscle and joint aspect to every injury. Our clinic is conveniently located to serve the Ahwatukee, Chandler, Tempe, and Gilbert communities. To learn more about our treatments please visit the Resource Pages or Home Page.