Dry needling for the treatment of myofascial (muscular) trigger points is based on theories similar, but not exclusive, to traditional acupuncture; however, dry needling targets the trigger points, which is the direct and palpable source of patient pain, rather than the traditional “meridians”, accessed via acupuncture. The distinction between trigger points and acupuncture points for the relief of pain is similiar. What distinguishes dry needling from traditional acupuncture is that it does not use the full range of traditional theories of Chinese Medicine. Dry needling would be most directly comparable to the use of so-called 'a-shi' points in acupuncture.[10]

In the treatment of trigger points for persons with myofascial pain syndrome, dry needling is a procedure in which a filiform needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle. Deep dry needling for treating trigger points was first introduced by Czech physician Karel Lewit in 1979.

Proper dry needling of a myofascial trigger point will elicit a local twitch response (LTR), which is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibers in the taut band of muscle contract. The LTR indicates the proper placement of the needle in a trigger point. Dry needling that elicits LTRs improves treatment outcomes,and may work by activating local natural pain killers. Inserting the needle itself does not cause significant pain,when done by well-trained practitioners. The feeling when the needle goes in is similar to a slight pin prick.

Chan Gunn introduced a type of dry needling called intramuscular stimulation in the 1980s that moved away from using trigger points. Gunn believed that the peripheral muscle spasm was not the origin of pain, but instead, tight muscle fibers was causing spinal nerve compression, radiating pain, and nerve damage running to the outer parts of the body. This spinal nerve damage eventually reached the associated muscle, causing spasm and transformation to a trigger point. Therefore, Gunn recommended a needle be placed in the muscles around the spine, in addition to the surrounding muscle. Peter Baldry developed a version called superficial dry needling in 2005, in which the needle is inserted about 5–10 mm into the tissue above the trigger point. Baldry has such success with this technique that he applied it throughout the body by simply puncturing the skin superficially over a trigger point without actually reaching it.

At the Atoka Chiropractic Clinic, our doctors have taken special courses in acupuncture and dry needling. They have been excited by the success they have observed from patients who have been suffering from tight muscles and radiating pain to the upper back, arms, hands, legs and feet. Some patients feel immediate relief and the doctors have seen the muscles let down. Others have results in multiple treatments. The doctors recommend the number of treatments on a case by case basis.

Some insurance companies cover the cost of the dry needling. It is in the scope of Chiropractic practice in our state.

Our locations

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Find Out When We Are Open


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm




8:00 am-6:00 pm




8:00 am-12:00 pm



Contact Us