What Is Dry Needling and How Does It Work?

Dry needling, otherwise knowns as trigger point dry needling or myofascial trigger point dry needling can be done by acupuncturists, chiropractors, medical doctors, and physical therapists to treat myofascial pain. Clinicians push thin solid needles through the skin into trigger points. The needles are used to stimulate the tissue and surrounding myofascial system, not to inject any medication.

Putting the needles in trigger points and tight muscles prompts the body to loosen and the muscles to relax. The muscle relaxation caused by the process should relieve pain and prevent muscle spasms. Since it affects the muscle tissue, some refer to dry needling as intramuscular stimulation.

It is important to note that dry needling training has variable regulations or qualifications depending on the state, making it vital to have a trustworthy clinician.

Dry Needling for Woman's Back | Pain Relief | Upstate Spine & Sport
David Jolson - Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Chiropractic Visit

How Does Dry Needling Relieve Pain?

Trigger points usually occur due to poor movement patterns, repetitive motions at work, and a lack of strength or stability in certain areas. Oftentimes, these trigger points are the victim, not the culprit. However, there is no denying that these spots become tender to touch, causing pain the longer it stays tight. They can become exceptionally sensitive and painful in a short amount of time.

Therapists, doctors, acupuncturists, or other professionals use needles to stimulate the muscle tissue to help the tissues unwind. Popular theories state that dry needling changes how your muscles and brain interact, allowing the fibers to relax.

Pain is the perception of threat by our brain, and these tight tissues can drastically change how your body moves. It is thought that dry needling changes the way the brain and muscles talk to each other to let the system return to a more normal movement pattern.

Who Is Dry Needling For?


The team at Upstate Spine & Sport uses dry needling to help manage and reduce chronic pain. We also use it to increase a person’s range of motion when hindered by scar tissue or muscle tightness. Dry needling treatment should occur as part of a larger treatment plan alongside other problem-solving approaches, like the specific range of motion exercises or strengthening drills.

Most people who could benefit from dry needling treatments have one of the following conditions:

  • Tendinitis
  • Repetitive motion disorders
  • Joint and disc problems
  • Knee pain and arthritis
  • Night cramps
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Spine Pain
  • Whiplash
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Ankle and elbow issues

How Is Dry Needling Different from Acupuncture?

In our opinion, the dry needling vs acupuncture debate isn’t much of a debate. Dry Needling is a subset of acupuncture, called local needling. Dry needling has become popular in recent years based on its utilization by physical therapists, chiropractors, and medical doctors.

At Upstate Spine & Sport, we have 5 clinicians who use some form of needling – two chiropractors, and three acupuncturists. The approach in our clinical application with the utilization of needles can vary. Our acupuncturists treat a wide range of conditions and focus on creating balance in the nervous system, decreasing fight or flight. Our chiropractors focus on musculoskeletal issues like joint and tendon issues, spine pain, or extremity issues.

Person with Dry Needling Needles in their hand and forearm.

Meet Our Professional Team

Our current team of dry-needling specialists includes Dr. David Jolson and Dr. Tanner Garey. Both doctors have trained in chiropractic care as top-quality physicians and have studied the effects of dry needling, combining this care method with other treatments to create a detailed plan for each patient.

Dr. David Jolson | Chiropractor in Greenville, SC | Meet Our Team

Dr. David Jolson has a comprehensive understanding of musculoskeletal parts, specializing in the hips, shoulders, and spine. His attention to detail and instructive care have gained him the honor of working with several sports teams.

Dr. Tanner Garey | Chiropractor in Greenville, SC

Dr. Tanner Garey’s passion for women’s health and pediatric care expands into her chiropractic specialties. She also works with various sports teams alongside expecting and postpartum mothers, understanding the complexities of pregnancy-related body changes.

Dry Needling in Greenville, SC | Upstate Spine & Sport

While dry needling may be a newer practice, Upstate Spine & Sport professionals utilize all effective and possible solutions for your care. Our personalized plans tackle your specific muscle pains and work to provide long-lasting relief and stability.

Chronic muscle pain shouldn’t hinder your life when there are solutions that can help. For a free consultation with one of our specialists for dry needling in Greenville, SC, contact us at (864) 400-8005.

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