Functional Dry Needling

Functional Dry Needling

Elite PT’s belief is that physical therapists should always incorporate a “hands on” manual therapy approach to treating patients. We believe that our role is to diagnose and treat our patients through a combination of manual therapy and exercise.  Our therapists are committed to maintaining and updating our education through attendance, participation, and hosting continuing educational programs.

In keeping with this philosophy, we have taken the step to have our complete staff of physical therapists trained in the practice of Functional Dry Needling.  We are proud to say that we are the only practice in the state (perhaps the region) to have all of their Physical Therapists trained in this valuable skill.

Functional Dry Needling is a hands-on physical therapy approach to treat Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. A variety of manual techniques are used during the physical therapy treatments to inactivate myofascial trigger points, and to restore normal muscle tone, muscle length, coordination, function and strength.

Functional Dry Needling is a valuable, effective and efficient adjunct treatment to inactivate myofascial trigger points. It is an invasive procedure in which a thin solid filament sterile needle is used.  Functional Dry Needling involves insertion and repetitive manipulation of the needle in the myofascial trigger point. The purpose of this technique is to inactivate the myofascial trigger points by producing a local twitch response. This local twitch response then releases the shortened bands of muscle fibers. The result is muscle relaxation and pain relief. Eliciting this local twitch response is key for successful deactivation of the trigger point. No medication of any kind is injected.

To learn if this treatment option may be of benefit to you, feel free to contact any of our locations for more information.


Danny Singles

Harbor East

Alyssa Lombardi
Caroline Queale


Kristen Henry
Cody Hafner
Chris Vodzak

Rehoboth Beach

Hayes Glandon
Amelia Knarr
Jessica Sanders
Aleida Torres


Matt Higley
Erin Igo
Mark Szaroleta

This technique is unequalled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits. The needle used is very thin and most patients do not even feel them penetrate the skin. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle. If the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the patient will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp -'the twitch response'.

The patient also may feel a reproduction of "their" pain which is a helpful diagnostic indicator for the practitioner attempting to diagnose the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length function to the involved muscle.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle to stimulate the healing process of soft tissues (muscle "trigger points", fascia, tendons and ligaments, etc) resulting in pain relief and restoration of healthy physiology.

Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.

What is a "trigger point"?

A myofascial "trigger point" is a hyperirritable point in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule, or “knot”. This area becomes painful at the site and can also “radiate” in predictable patterns.

What is the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

The objectives and philosophy behind the use of dry needling by physical therapists is not based on ancient theories or tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. The performance of modern dry needling by physical therapists is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

Both Dry Needling and Acupuncture do, however, use the same tool; a solid monofilament needle.

Does it hurt?

Generally, the insertion of the needle is not felt. The local "twitch response" may provoke a brief pain sensation that has been described as a tingling, aching or cramping sensation.

Who can benefit from Dry Needling?

A variety of musculoskeletal problems including, but not limited to: Acute/Chronic injuries, Headaches, Neck/Back pain, Tendinitis, Muscle Spasms, "Sciatica", Hip/Knee pain, Muscle strains, Fibromyalgia, "Tennis/Golfer's Elbow", PFPS, Overuse injuries, etc.

Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?

Side effects may vary among individuals. Typically, only mild muscle soreness or skin bruising.

Is Dry Needling covered by my health insurance?

In most cases, it is a fee or cash based service provided only by a licensed Physical Therapist