Dry Needling

Dry needling is a technique that uses needles without any medication to relieve pain in the muscles or tendons, also called myofascial pain. Dry needling is safe, effective, and causes minimal discomfort. It is commonly used along with with physical therapy. 

Dry needling targets trigger points, which are knotted areas of muscle that can be sensitive to the touch or cause pain elsewhere in the body when touched. Trigger points usually occur when there has been damage or strain to the muscle or tendon. Research shows that dry needling can release trigger points and increase blood flow to the tissue, leading to less pain and more movement.

We use ultrasound to locate and precisely target your trigger points with the needles. The real-time images help us reach the exact location of the trigger points. Our experts perform hundreds of ultrasound-guided procedures each year, providing relief for muscle pain, movement impairment, and many other conditions.

Conditions We Treat With Dry Needling

  • Shoulder pain or tightness
  • Tendinitis
  • Rotator cuff impingement
  • Tennis elbow
  • Hip pain
  • Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome

What to Expect From the Procedure

When you arrive at our office, you will be escorted to the procedure room. We will palpate the area of pain to find trigger points and clean the area of the body that will receive the needle or needles.

We will then apply a small amount of warm gel to the area. The sonographer will then glide the transducer over your skin to capture images of the muscle or tendon.

Using the images, our radiologist will pinpoint the location of the trigger point and insert one or more needles. The needles are extremely thin and cause hardly any discomfort when they are inserted. Our radiologist may use one needle or several and may insert them superficially or deep into your muscle. You may feel some discomfort or a muscle twitch as the needle penetrates the trigger point.

In some cases needles are inserted, moved into the trigger point, and then immediately removed. The radiologist will then apply pressure to the point where they were inserted. The needles typically do not cause bleeding.

Are there any risks?

Dry needling is a safe procedure that uses disposable, sterile needles. 

After the Procedure

It may take up to 24 hours to feel the effects of dry needling. Your radiologist may suggest that you repeat the procedure several times over a two-week period.

ColumbiaDoctors/NewYork-Presbyterian Imaging
51 West 51st Street
Suite 300
New York, NY 10019
United States