Not all Dry Needling is created equal


I don’t know how many patients have told me “I had dry needling before and it was very painful and I never want it again!”  Before I even started looking into getting my dry needling certification I had many patients tell me horror stories of their dry needling experiences at other clinics and I couldn’t believe that something that sounded like it could be so helpful could be so painful that it left emotional scars.  That motivated me to research physical therapy dry needling and attempt to find a way to perform this technique with optimal comfort and effectiveness.
I am very lucky, as I live in Denver, CO where dry needling has been very popular for years and there are multiple continuing education courses that happen locally.  At the time I started this research – about 5 years ago – there was one very prominent school that seemed to be teaching most of the therapists that I knew of in the area and I couldn’t help but think that this technique must be what my patients were so opposed to.  The other school actually advertised that it’s technique was 80% pain-free.  WHAT????  How can there be one technique that is painful and causes significant soreness and then another that advertises 80% pain-free….and they’re both called Dry Needling?!  I was blown away, and immediately made the decision that I must look into this “gentle” dry needling technique so that I could treat my patients within my personal philosophy (I strive to decrease people’s pain with the least amount of residual pain as possible).  It was a much smaller company with less course offerings than it’s competitor, so there weren’t as many reviews but what I did find was great.  The next course was local and in just a few weeks – it was perfect!

The course was even better than I could have anticipated – it was focused on safety and we learned how to utilize very small acupuncture needles to improve blood flow, decrease muscle trigger points and tightness, stimulate nerves, decrease bruising and swelling and improve general healing.  I was addicted!  I started utilizing the techniques in my physical therapy practice and it literally changed my life.  Using needles to loosen up the muscles and tissues was extremely effective and made it far easier on my hands to work on soft tissue – I haven’t had tendinitis in my hands and wrists since I started using this technique and my patients LOVE it!  My career path has completely shifted and now I contract with clinics around the city with dry needling being one of my primary specialties.  I also see patients in private treatment sessions at their home.  I am hoping to grow this aspect of my business, as I much prefer the one-on-one sessions that give me the ability to treat how myself and the patient feel is best, not just the way insurance dictates treatments.

Dry needling can be an incredible tool to help reduce pain, tightness, swelling and improve performance, mobility and overall wellness.  Dry needling does not have to be extremely painful and leave a person sore for days, it can be invigorating and most of my patients report immediate pain relief and relaxation.  Please contact me if you would like to improve the way that you move and heal!  You can contact me through my website at, email or call (720) 369-7738.

For more questions about dry needling, check out my blog post: Dry Needling by Solstice PT – FAQ