Can Chiropractors do Dry Needling?

Can Chiropractors do Dry Needling?

Welcome to our blog! We hope this post finds you well. But, If you are suffering from some chronic muscular pain and exhausted from visiting several healthcare professionals and their way of treatment. And if you need some permanent solution to this problem, you must read our blog to broaden your vision about the solution.

Dry needling is a perfect alternative treatment to chronic musculoskeletal pain, but several healthcare providers, physiotherapists, Chiropractors, and some quacks claim that they do it. In this blog, We will emphasize the role of chiropractors. Can Chiropractors do Dry Needling?

Yes, licensed chiropractors with expertise in dry needling can do it on their patients. An interesting fact is that the feedback from patients regarding this treatment is very positive.

Later in this blog, we will discuss the basics of dry needling, its benefits, potential risks, and the role of chiropractors. So, let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!

Monofilament needles

Basics of dry needling

While answering the question,” Can Chiropractors do Dry Needling? It’s essential to know the basics of technique. Dry needling is a Western invasive approach helpful in treating long-lasting musculoskeletal pain in which chiropractors insert thin monofilament needles at various trigger points of pain in a specific part of the body. However, as a result, those muscles twitch and go into a relaxation phase.            

This treatment provides immediate relief from pain due to muscular tightness in that body part.

Types of Dry Needling

 Usually, there are two main types of dry needling:

  • Tapping technique: In this technique, acupuncture needles are inserted at various trigger points in muscles, and the chiropractor looks for twitching followed by the relaxation of the muscles.
  • Electrical stimulation: Needles inserted in muscles are now attached with electrodes to cause twitching and relaxation.

How it Works

Various researchers have put their theories on how pain is relieved through dry needling: 

  • Mechanical losing effect theory: When we prick the tightened muscle with the needle, the muscle relaxes after twitching and becomes available for the next normal contraction.
  • Chemical pain reduction theory: According to this theory, when we prick at a pressure point, all pain-related chemicals drain in that local site, and pain resolves due to a deficiency of pain-causing substances.
  • Neural endorphin and enkephalin release theory: Endorphin and enkephalin are pain-masking chemicals released from neurons at nerve endings at the needle’s insertion site.
  • Microtrauma: Some believe that due to microtrauma, some reconstruction hormones are released that repair any musculoskeletal damage, resulting in the release of trigger points.

When to Visit a Chiropractor for Dry Needling

You must visit a chiropractor if you are suffering from the following ailments. 

  1. Headaches and migraines
  2. Neck and Shoulder pain
  3. Lower back pain
  4. Tennis elbow
  5. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  6. Plantar fasciitis
  7. Ankle sprain
  8. Rotator cuff syndrome

Acupuncture vs Dry Needling

  • Uses Monofilament needle
  • Uses Monofilament needle
  • Eastern approach 
  • Western Approach
  • Done on the whole body
  • Done on tightened muscles
  • Needles inserted into meridians(lines that criss-cross body are connections between nerves and muscles)
  • Pressure points are targeted only
  • Addresses diseases from gut to pregnancy 
  • Addresses diseases with musculoskeletal origin 

How Can a Chiropractor Do Dry Needling?

Can Chiropractors do Dry Needling?

A chiropractor can perform dry needling following a set of precise steps. Initially, they take a detailed history and locate the muscle trigger points causing pain or discomfort.

This phase is essential as these trigger points are the target areas for dry needling. The chiropractor uses their knowledge of anatomy to find these points accurately.

Preparation and Sterilization

Once the trigger points are located, a good chiropractor takes consent from the patient after explaining the procedure to the patient. They ensure that the environment, tools, and hands are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized to prevent infection. The skin over the affected area is also cleaned.

 This step is crucial to maintain health standards and patient safety.

Performing Dry Needling

Next, the chiropractor uses a thin, sterile, monofilament needle to puncture the skin and stimulate the muscle’s trigger point, but it needs no anesthesia. The needle’s insertion can vary in depth, depending on the location of the trigger point and the duration for which the needle remains. 

Patients may feel a slight twitch or muscle contraction when inserted, indicating that the needle has reached its target.

Post Operative Care

After the procedure, the chiropractor carefully removes the needle to minimize discomfort. They might then apply pressure to the area to alleviate residual pain or soreness. It’s common for patients to feel immediate relief or a sense of relaxation in the muscles post-procedure.

Follow-up Sessions

Typically, a chiropractor schedules multiple dry needling sessions to manage chronic pain effectively. Most of the time, they give an appointment after 04 weeks for every follow-up. The number of appointments depends on the severity of the pain and the patient’s response to the treatment. 


Patients might be advised between sessions to maintain hydration, rest the affected areas, and perform light exercises or stretches as appropriate.

Pros and Cons of Chiropractic Dry Needling

Dry needling offers multiple advantages as compared to the chronic use of painkillers, as listed below.

  • Pain relief 
  • Improved range of motion of limbs
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Short treatment
  • Injury prevention

Side effects

side effects of needling

 Overall, chiropractic dry needling is a very safe procedure. Still, a chiropractor must obtain informed written consent from the patient before performing it because the following side effects can occur, although they are scarce.

  • Bleeding 
  • Bruising
  • Sense of weakness as muscles relax
  • infection


Dry Needling is a very fruitful therapy, but chiropractors avoid performing this in patients who have the following comorbidities.

  • Cancer
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Local implant 
  • The first trimester of pregnancy
  • Recent surgery

Case study

Sarah, a 40-year-old woman, had been experiencing chronic back pain from prolonged sitting due to her desk job. Despite trying pain medications and physiotherapy, the discomfort persisted, negatively impacting her quality of life. After researching various treatment options, she consulted a local chiropractor specializing in dry needling.

During the first session, the chiropractor examined Sarah, identified the ‘trigger points’ causing her discomfort, and explained the benefits and procedure of dry needling. Over the next few weeks, Sarah underwent several dry needling sessions. She reported feeling immediate relief and relaxation in her muscles post-procedure.

The treatment significantly improved Sarah’s condition. She could resume her daily activities without discomfort and had an enhanced range of motion.

Sarah’s case highlights how a chiropractor’s dry needling effectively alleviates chronic pain, improving the patient’s quality of life.


1. How many sessions of dry needling are needed for relief?

The number of sessions varies depending on the individual and their condition, but 5 to 10 sessions are typically required for significant relief.

2. Are there any self-care methods to help alleviate pain between dry needling sessions?  

Some helpful tips include stretching, using a foam roller or massage ball, and applying heat or ice to the affected area.

3. Is it safe to have dry needling performed by a chiropractor?

As long as the chiropractor is licensed and adequately trained in dry needling, they can safely perform the procedure. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your chiropractor before proceeding with treatment.

4. Do Chiropractors do Dry Needling?  

Yes, absolutely. A chiropractor who has received proper training and licensing can perform dry needling if the country’s law in which he practices allows him to do so. They use this technique to help relax muscles and alleviate pain, especially in chronic musculoskeletal conditions. However, always ensure your chiropractor has the qualifications before treating.

5. What is an alternative to dry needling?

Alternative dry needling, also referred to as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), is a variant of the traditional dry needling technique, differing primarily in its methodology and underlying principles. At the same time, conventional dry needling aims to stimulate trigger points within muscles; alternative dry needling targets both peripheral and central aspects of the nervous system. 

Bottom line

While dry needling has proven beneficial for many, the results can vary from person to person, and discussing your options with a healthcare professional is essential. If you’re experiencing chronic musculoskeletal pain, consider consulting a licensed chiropractor to determine if dry needling is the proper treatment. 

We hope that we have provided you with a complete package on “Can Chiropractors do Dry Needling?” if something is lacking in this blog, you must submit feedback so we can improve those flaws. Thank you!

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