Dry needle treatment may be an option for your shoulder pain

Trigger point dry needling is becoming more popular among physical therapists to relieve shoulder pain. Dry needle shoulder pain treatment is not to be confused with traditional Chinese medicine art of acupuncture. It has been extensively studied for its effectiveness in pain relief from the skeletal muscles.

Dry needling is not the best option for every shoulder problem. For some shoulder problems, however, the specialized treatment may be able to provide pain relief and increase the range of motion.

Don’t know Who We Are? Click Here…

What is Dry Needling?

A dry needle, as the name implies, is one that has no fluid inside the body. The medicinal benefit is provided by the needle. Dry needle treatment is different from acupuncture. It goes directly to the trigger points the physical therapist has identified. Dry needling uses long filament needles, in contrast to the shorter needles used for acupuncture.

A trigger point is an area that causes pain in other areas of the body. It can be found within larger groups of muscles. The filament needle is inserted into the knotted muscle and causes the muscle to convulse slightly. This allows for pressure to be released. This is called local twitch reaction (LTR). A physical therapist will usually be able to identify the trigger point myofascial by looking for knots in the taut muscle band. She will also examine the tender areas you have reported.

Learn More about Dry Needling & Physical Therapy 


Can dry needling help shoulder pain? Three key muscles are often associated with stiffness and shoulder pain: the anterior and infraspinatus muscles, as well as the subscapularis and subscapularis muscles. Dry needling can help in many ways by targeting these muscles. It relieves pain by using LTR action. It addresses the imbalance that occurs when muscles aren’t able to bear their normal burdens. This puts strain on adjacent or opposite muscles.

Dry needling also addresses the lack of nutrients that “starve” muscles experience when scar tissue and inflammation prevent access. The dry filament needle causes an anti-inflammatory reaction by being inserted. As blood circulation improves, this technique allows healing proteins to return to previously swollen areas.


Compressed muscles are not the only cause of shoulder pain. For example, bursitis and slipped discs can affect the joints and bones, so they will require different treatments. Dry needle treatment is possible when there is a possibility of muscle imbalance or myofascial pain syndrome.

If you have specific symptoms, your physical therapist may suggest dry needling. Myofascial pain syndrome can often be felt as deep-reaching, knotty pain. This discomfort can make it difficult to sleep and may even become more severe. If one side of the shoulder experiences muscle imbalance, it can cause a “shrug” or a pattern of “shrugs.” Also, your muscles may feel weaker when you try and move them.


Consultation can determine if a dry needle shoulder pain treatment will be able to help. There are many other treatments that can reduce pain and increase the range of motion if dry needle treatment is not an option. To learn more, contact us!

>>> Dry Needling: Neck Pain

Oakland, CA Pain Management Clinic

Dr. Ben Bagge

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."
benb back Ebook
benb running Ebook

Get Your Free Tips Report: Back Pain

benb back Ebook
7 Quick Easy Ways to End Back Pain
How Long Have You Suffered or Worried?
Please Select A Location:
Marketing by
Privacy Policy: We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will NOT be shared.

Get Your Free Tips Report: Running Pain

benb running Ebook
Pain Free Running Guide
How Long Have You Suffered or Worried?*
Please Select A Location:*
Marketing by
Privacy Policy: We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will NOT be shared.