Dry Needling: New Service at PhysioKit SG

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is an effective technique used in the treatment of muscle pain. It is mainly used to treat 'trigger points' i.e highly irritable areas that can be felt as tender nodules within a taut band of muscles.


With dry needling, a small solid filament needle is inserted into the muscle to create a local twitch response. This response starts a physiological process that leads to decreased chemical irritation, improved flexibility and reduced pain and tension.

Where did it come From?

The origin of the term 'dry needling' is widely credited to Dr.Janet Travell who used the term to describe using a  hypodermic needle (without solution injected) to treat trigger points. They discovered that the process of needle insertion itself, and not any medication injected, relieved pain.

Is Dry Needling Acupuncture?

Simply put, no. Dry needling is based on Western medical research and principals. The insertion points of dry needling are based on anatomical trigger points and the reaction that follows is a physiological response. Acupuncture points, on the other hand, are along meridian lines (energy pathways), and insertion of the needles is believed to help restore chi (energy) to the body. This falls under the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is NOT under the remit of any physiotherapist in Singapore unless specifically trained to do so.

What Conditions Can Dry Needling Help With?

Dry needling can help with a variety of conditions but it is important that it is combined with other physiotherapy treatments such as  exercise therapy, to treat the issue holistically. It can be used in conjunction with other techniques to treat headaches, neck pain, low back pain, sports injuries, tendonitis and post surgical pain, to name a few.

What Can I Expect?

You may or may not feel the insertion of the actual needle. Afterwards, your physiotherapist may manipulate the needle to elicit a local twitch response. This is often described as a very brief (around 1 second) deep ache or cramping sensation. It's important  to realise that this is a temporary discomfort and is actually the desirable reaction, as this starts the physiological response that treats the pain.

What Should I Do After Treatment?

It is normal to feel post treatment soreness for 1-2 days. This can be relieved by using a hot or cold pack and stretching as advised by your physiotherapist. You may also feel more relaxed or tired temporarily. 

How Much Does It Cost?

Firstly our physiotherapists will assess if dry needling is an appropriate treatment for your pain. If so, any dry needling that needs to be done will be included in the treatment session prices.