Dry Needling

How can dry needling help relieve trigger point pain?

Dry Needling can help:


+ Relieve Muscle Restriction

Relieve muscle restriction that is not achieved with other hands-on treatment


+ Decrease Pain

Be used as another way to
address your muscle and joint pain


+ Improve Muscle Activation

Improve muscle activation/restore function to areas of weakness


How can dry needling help relieve trigger point pain?

Muscular trigger points (sometimes called “myofascial trigger points” or “knots”) are a commonly overlooked cause of acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. Trigger points are regions of disorganized muscle fibers. They form when you overuse your muscles and can present with exquisite tenderness, and referred pain in distant, seemingly unrelated areas. These referred areas of pain can range widely in size.  If you look at the picture, you can see that gluteal trigger points can cause pain all the way down the leg.

Through dry needling, your physical therapist can help manage those trigger points. Hitting them with an acupuncture needle (1/8 the diameter of the needle your physician uses) can cause an involuntary “twitch” to disrupt the “knots”. When paired with twisting and pulling of the needle, can get to the root cause of the formation of the trigger point and decrease pain. Combining these techniques with mobility, strengthening, and flexibility exercises to retrain your movement patterns and decrease overuse of the muscle can lead to long-term improvements in your symptoms.

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From Pain to Play

“If you are looking for a peak performance or serious healing this a place to go to. It’s a fantastic team of professionals that work really well together. After a thorough evaluation of your personal therapeutical needs they will come up with a customized plan. You just need to be committed and keep showing up at least once a week and the results will be there within a few weeks if not before.”

– Robert K.

“This is a special place. My life would be much different if I hadn’t found React. Probably a life of limitations and pain pills. Their techniques combined with one on one time with trained professionals and some hard work will enable the change you desire. I highly recommend anyone with pain to setup time. You don’t have to live in pain.”

– Jett M.

“As a competitive triathlete, React in the West Loop over the years has gotten me through two meniscus tears and now a recent rotator cuff issue. The staff and facilities are outstanding and along with getting me healthy, I appreciate the time educating me on what exercises I should do to remain injury free. Both Michele Schultz and Charles Queano are highly recommended and they really care about your well being.”

– Thomas A.

“Michele is seriously the best and the main reason I keep coming back to React. I go to React on a weekly basis for a chronic shoulder injury and I always leave feeling so much better than when I came in. Throughout our time together Michele has encouraged me to try a bunch of different exercises, stretches and even treatment options. Michele thought I might benefit from dry needling so she introduced me to Andrew who is also awesome. Can’t say enough good things about working with her, she truly is the best.”

– Danielle P.

“I am so indebted to React. For so long, having pain in my shoulder was so normal, I didn’t even think about it. The first time I woke up and walked around for hours before realizing I wasn’t in pain was amazing. I can’t thank them enough for their detailed, careful, and hard work to fix me up.”

– Emily B.

“For the past 2-3 years I had been experiencing right leg pain, back pain, and a slew of other issues. A friend of mine referred me to React and I’m truly amazed by my progress. A few months later and I’m now 100% healed. If you have imbalances, flexibility issues, mobility issues, call React.”

– Jordan T.

“What Dave did to me in 3 weeks was deemed “night and day” by my local athletic doctor. He let me stay after and train for hours after my appointment. He showed personal care in my well being and answered every question I threw his way. I’m still not 100 percent, but I continue to get stronger and more agile by the day. Dave educated me about my body and I’m now pursuing my goal to get back on the ice.”

– Kyle Lee, Prospective Athlete, Boston College

“A silver medal for your rehabbed athlete! There was a lot of chop in the water but my shoulder held up and I had a good swim, until a guy kicked me in the face and left me with a nice shiner. My bike time was the fastest I have ever done at the World Championships and my run was the slowest I have ever done at the World Championships. Looks like my shoulder had more impact on my legs than my arms! But I was thrilled to cross the finish line, a feat I never would have accomplished without the wonderful care I received from all of you!”

– Elizabeth Brackett

“The biggest change is explosiveness and everything lined up before the game…[Having] all my joints lined up and muscles activated. It allows me to be more explosive out there on the field and that’s important at a skill position as a running back.”

– Matt Forte, ESPN Chicago (2011)

Dry Needling at React

All in all, dry needling is a safe and potentially valuable adjunct to your usual physical therapy. Working out those trigger points can ultimately lead to a decrease in pain, improvement in muscle function, improved functional mobility, and improved performance. Dry needling’s benefits occur not only at a local musculoskeletal level, but at a whole-body nervous system, hormonal, and systemic level.  As dry needling becomes more widespread, further research is being done to explain its many benefits.

Dry needling is offered at all 5 of our React Physical Therapy locations.