Dry needling is a safe, effective and commonly used treatment for a wide range of painful musculoskeletal conditions. It is frequently used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, whiplash, and even migraine. It is also ideal for treating the areas of the body which are most commonly affected by pain: low back, hips and shoulders.


Why is dry needling so versatile? Because skeletal muscles are situated throughout the human body – and those are precisely the soft tissues dry needling targets.


Millions of Americans currently suffer from trigger points: discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in taut bands of skeletal muscle. These knots are extremely sensitive, and can cause pain even when muscles they occur in aren’t in use. When a trigger point places abnormal pressure on nearby nerves, the pain can be excruciating.


Dry needles do not inject drugs (hence why they are “dry”). Dry needling is also not to be mistaken for acupuncture, as its purpose is not to manipulate the flow of a hypothetical and unquantifiable universal lifeforce. It works on a far simpler principle. When a chiropractor or physical therapist strategically inserts thin, sterile needles through their patient’s skin, they are directly releasing underlying trigger points. Once a trigger point has been spearheaded by the tip of a needle, it can go slack, permit increased blood flow to enter the muscle tissue, and induce the body’s own natural healing processes to take effect.


Let’s take a closer look at dry needling in practice, detailing how it can help relieve pain and restore function in the low back, hip and shoulder.


Dry Needling for Low Back Pain


Back pain often arises due to issues in the iliopsoas (which connects the spine to the lower limbs), the quadratus lumborum (which connects the lower rib cage to the pelvis), the multifidus (which stabilizes the lower spine), and the gluteals (aka the buttocks). Several key nerves can become impaired when these muscles contain trigger points, including:


  • Iliopsoas – genitofemoral and ilioinguinal nerves
  • Quadratus lumborum – thoracic nerves
  • Multifidus – medial branch nerves
  • Glutealssciatic nerves


We don’t mean to bore you to tears by using so many anatomical terms. All we hope to demonstrate is that dry needling isn’t pseudoscience. Once a chiropractor has determined the exact source of nerve pain, they know precisely which muscle’s trigger points may be causing it.


Dry Needling for Hip Pain


We have already shown that dry needling is rooted in real science. That begs the next question: does it work? It certainly does as far as hip pain is concerned.


When the patient also receives physical therapy, dry needling is known to significantly reduce pain associated with total hip replacement. Dry needling is just as effective as cortisone injection for reducing symptoms of trochanteric pain syndrome – but without the undesirable side effects. In a recent double blind study, dry needling was shown to provide significant pain relief to patients suffering from hip osteoarthritis as well.


Naturally, dry needling’s analgesic effects aren’t exclusive to the hips. Any aching body part may be restored once its muscles’ trigger points have been released.


Dry Needling for Shoulder Pain


Dry needling is no less effective at reducing shoulder pain than it is in the low back or hips. But as nice as pain relief can be, you would also like to regain your body’s full functionality.


Dry needling has been shown to help restore full range of motion to patients with chronic shoulder pain. It is commonly used to restore strength to patients who are recovering from rotator cuff injuries as well. And if you suffer from frozen shoulder, dry needling may give you back full use of your arm in as few as two treatment sessions.


In summary, dry needling is a real medical solution to reducing pain and restoring function in the low back, hips and shoulders – just like it is in any other muscled part of the body!


Are you living with muscle pain and reduced range of motion? Then we welcome you to contact Fargo Spine today to learn how dry needling can help. It’s just one of the many drug-free and nonsurgical healing modalities we offer at our Fargo, ND chiropractic clinic, and it may be administered solo or as part of the larger course of treatment we tailor to your unique health needs.