Dry Needling - Cherry Creek Spine & Pain

Dry Needling

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Dry Needling Therapy is a pain management therapy that uses needles to relieve muscle contraction and pain. It gets its name from the use of a dry needle, or a needle that does not inject fluid into the body. Specifically, dry needling therapy identifies and relieves myofascial trigger points within the muscles to alleviate pain and increase mobility. It is recommended to treat a number of joint and muscle disorders, as well as nerve compression.

At Cherry Creek Spine & Pain, we offer dry needling services as part of our combined chiropractic treatment plan. Although dry needling can be performed independently, we find that our patients have better results when using a combined treatment approach. Our dry needling specialists are licensed chiropractic technicians that have been trained in the most up to date pain therapy methods.

Female patient having dry needling performed on her shoulder by a chiropractor

Did You Know?

Although many people associate dry needling with the Eastern medical practice of Acupuncture, dry needling is actually rooted in Western medicine. Treatment with dry needling encompasses the evaluation of pain patterns, posture, movement impairments, function, and orthopedic tests.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Am I a candidate for Dry Needling Therapy?

Man with back and neck pain

You may be a candidate for dry needling therapy if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscular inflammation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Drug addiction recovery pain
  • Injury recovery pain
  • Disk problems
  • Migraines or tension headaches
  • Jaw and mouth problems
  • Tendinitis
  • Whiplash
  • Phantom pain
  • Repetitive motion disorders (carpal tunnel)


However, dry needling may not be the best option for you if:


  • You have Bleeding disorders
  • You are extremely afraid of needles
  • Your immune system is impaired
  • You are pregnant

To find out if dry needling is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Foss, D.C. of Cherry Creek Spine & Pain today!


How does dry needling therapy work?

Dry needling uses a fine filament needle inserted into muscular “trigger points” to release tension and reduce pain. Muscular trigger points are often composed of tightened myofascial tissues that are unable to lengthen and return to their relaxed state. Myofascial tissues are the tough membranes responsible for wrapping, connecting, and supporting your muscles. When these tissues become tightened, the surrounding capillaries and nerves become compressed as well. Consequently, when this happens, the muscle cannot function properly, does not receive adequate blood supply or nutrients, and cannot rid itself of acidic chemicals. As a result, the muscle continues to tighten.

Inserting a filament needle into a myofascial trigger point causes blood to pool around the needle. This blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscle and flushes away acidic chemicals, which allows the muscle to relax. Once the muscle relaxes, the capillaries and nerves decompress and the local blood supply returns to the muscle, allowing it maintain its relaxed state.


Is dry needling the same as acupuncture?

No, dry needling and acupuncture are actually different treatments. Although they use a similar method, dry needling focuses on identifying and releasing myofascial trigger points in the muscle. This means that the placement of the needles will vary depending on the location of the trigger points. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is mainly focused on restoring the flow of energy, or chi, within the body to relieve pain and uses key points on the body for the placement of needles. This means that the placement of the needles is set and will not change.


Acupuncture needle with alcohol swab on a red background

What can I expect when receiving dry needling therapy at Cherry Creek Spine & Pain?

When receiving dry needle therapy, the affected area will first be sanitized with an alcohol pad. Then, a sterile filament needle will be inserted into the area. This may cause the muscle to twitch. The needle will be left in place for a certain amount of time until the desired effect is achieved. It will then be removed and properly discarded. Depending on your treatment plan, the process may be repeated on a different area of the body or your treatment may complete with one cycle.

When undergoing dry needling therapy, there are different techniques that may be used. The most common technique is to insert the filament needle and leave it in place for 10-30 minutes. However, there are also techniques called the in and out technique and the non-trigger points technique that may be used. The in and out technique is just as it sounds with the needle be inserted and instantly removed. The non-trigger point technique is when several needles are inserted around the trigger point instead of a single needle being inserted into the trigger point.


How many sessions are needed to obtain results?

The number of dry needling sessions required will depend upon your individual treatment plan. Some people will notice a difference after the first session, however most people notice the biggest difference after three sessions. Depending on your condition and individual needs, you may need to continue sessions every so often to continue obtaining results.


Does dry needling hurt?

When the needles are inserted and removed, you may feel a slight sting. However the size of these needles is so tiny that you should not feel any discomfort apart from this. You may also experience a muscle twitch when the needle is first inserted. This is normal, especially when the needle is inserted into the myofascial trigger point. Overall, dry needling should not cause any major pain or discomfort.


What can I expect after receiving dry needling therapy?

After dry needling therapy, you may experience mild soreness, bruising, or even minor bleeding. The soreness you may feel is described as soreness you experience after a hard gym workout. Soreness can occur within a few hours or even the day after treatment and generally lasts about 24-48 hours. You may also experience bruising, especially if the shoulders, chest, face, or portions of the arms and legs were treated. To reduce bruising, you can use ice.

To help alleviate symptoms after dry needling, Cherry Creek Spine & Pain encourages you to drink more water than normal for 24 hours following your treatment. We also encourage you to stretch, continue your normal physical activity, lightly massage the area, use ice if needed, and to continue taking any prescription medications. You will also want to avoid strenuous activity to the affected muscles, new physical activities, and over exerting yourself.


Are there any side effects associated with dry needling?

As with any type of treatment, there are always possible side effects. Most people may experience mild side effects from dry needling, but serious side effects are extremely rare. Some common mild side effects that you may experience are bruising, bleeding, or temporary soreness. A very small fraction of patients may also feel tired or dizzy after treatment. If this is the case, we encourage you to avoid driving and have someone bring you to your appointment. One serious side effect of dry needling is lung collapse because of air inside the chest wall (pneumothorax), however this only occurs in 0.01% of patients. Before performing any dry needling, Dr. Foss, D.C. will ask about your medical history to ensure that dry needling is a safe treatment option for you.


Longevity begins with Cherry Creek Spine & Pain. Make the decision to enhance your body’s function with a chiropractic consultation and therapy treatment plan that includes dry needling. For information about dry needling chiropractic services, Contact Cherry Creek Spine & Pain in Denver, CO to make an appointment with Dr. Foss. Vitality is just a phone call away!