by Meagan Duggan Bretz


We get so many questions @ Asian Healing Traditions about Dry Needling and Trigger Point needling. While there are some differences, they are just terms used by different practitioners to accomplish the same goals: release tight muscles to reduce pain, support stability, and circulate blood.

What is it like to have trigger points released with acupuncture needles/dry needling?

It’s amazing! It’s strange! And it’s effective! Your practitioner starts by evaluating your pain with questions as well as palpating, or touching, the muscles around the pain area. We look for tight spots, or trigger points, in which we’ll insert our acupuncture needles into these spots. We manipulate the needle a bit to engage the muscle and elicit a twitch in the muscle which tells the muscle spindle (the muscle’s brain) to contract and release. As the patient you’ll feel a twitch and release of the muscle!

Is dry needling/trigger point needling painful?

This one is harder to answer because it all depends on the individual person. If you are an overall sensitive person, the process might be uncomfortable. The discomfort is mostly from the insertion of a needle into an area that is already experiencing discomfort. Once the needle is in, the discomfort subsides quickly. Others do not necessarily feel pain (these people typically have a decent pain tolerance). If anything is painful, let your practitioner know and they can adjust the needle asap!

What can you expect after treatment:

After having your tight muscles needled/released, you may feel some soreness that can be compared to having a deep tissue massage. You might notice an immediate increase in range of motion, reduction of pain level, and overall calmness in the body.

You should also avoid using ice on the area as ice can tighten things back up. Instead, use a heating pad if you want some extra care on the area. Feel free to use topicals as well!

If you’re interested in trying dry needling/trigger point acupuncture, book an appointment with the Acupuncturists @ AHT! We’re happy to help get you back on track!