Dry Needling For Neck Pain

Dry needling is a modern treatment technique that involves inserting thin needles into specific pain points in the body. Trigger points are tight knots of muscle that can cause neck pain and discomfort. Dry needling aims to release the tension that causes neck pain and promote healing by inserting the needles into these trigger points.


Neck pain is common and can cause mild discomfort or range up to severe, debilitating pain. It can interfere with daily activities, work, and sleep. Various factors can contribute to neck pain, including injury, strain, or poor postural control. Various treatment options are available for pain, and dry needling is a very promising option.


Dry needling works by targeting the trigger points that are causing the pain. Inserting needles into these trigger points signals the brain to release the tension. This release of tension can result in an immediate decrease in pain and improved mobility. In addition to its pain-relieving effects, dry needling also stimulates blood flow to the affected area, which helps to promote healing and reduce inflammation.

 Neck pain can range from irritating to debilitating...dry needling can help with both.
Neck pain can range from irritating to debilitating…dry needling can help with both.

Is Dry Needling in the Neck Safe?

Dry needling is a safe treatment option for neck pain when performed by a qualified health care professional. The needles used in dry needling are FDA-approved, sterile, and single-use, which reduces the risk of infection. The process is generally well-tolerated and has few side effects. Some people may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the needle insertion site, but these symptoms usually resolve quickly. In rare cases, some bleeding or bruising may occur, but this is typically minor and also resolves quickly. There may be a nerve or muscle injury in extremely rare cases, but this typically occurs with improper insertion of the needles.

Dry Needling in the upper trap to reduce neck pain is safe and effective.
Dry Needling in the upper trap to reduce neck pain is safe and effective.

What does research say about the treatment?

There is evidence to support the use of dry needling for neck pain. A review published in “Pain Physician” in 2018 found that dry needling was an effective treatment option. There were significant improvements in disability, pain, and quality of life observed in the studies. Another research review in the “Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy” in 2012 looked at the effects of dry needling to those of a placebo (sham) treatment, including with nerve pain that radiates from the neck to the arm, and found that it was more effective than the sham to reduce pain and improve function. A third randomized controlled trial published in the “Journal of Pain” in 2016 looked at dry needling to treat trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle and found that dry needling was more effective than the placebo in reducing pain and improving function.

In summary, dry needling is a safe and effective treatment option for neck pain, with evidence to support its use. If you suffer from neck pain, dry needling may be a treatment option. However, it is important to remember that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution and that the best course of treatment will depend on the individual and the cause of their neck pain. If you are considering dry needling, it is important to consult with a qualified practitioner. Together, you will determine if it is the right treatment option.