Ready Steady Rehab

Understanding Dry Needling

Dry Needling, physical therapy

Dr. Heather North explains dry needling, how it’s used for sports injuries, and how it differs from acupuncture in the treatment of sport’s injuries

WiSP Sports Radio is brought to you by Hyland’s Earache Drops

Ready Steady Rehab is hosted by Heather North of Red Hammer Rehab

Podcast length: 15’14”

On this week’s episode, Dr. Heather North helps us understand the use of dry needling in physical therapy. Dry needling is a unique procedure intended to specifically target and restore muscle function, with an emphasis on improving tissue healing and restoring normal tissue function. This is important as continued activity with poor muscle function may lead to further tissue damage and increased pain. Dry needling is not meant to replace conventional medical procedures such as physiotherapy or surgery. However, when combined with conventional treatment options, dry needling can be an influential method to accelerate pain reduction, healing and the restoration of normal tissue function.

LISTEN to MORE episodes of Ready Steady Rehab HERE

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the positive effect inserting a needle has on the electrical and chemical communications that take place in our nervous system. These include inhibiting the transmission of pain signals in our spinal cord and increasing the release of our own pain relieving chemicals within our brains. The pain relieving effect of dry needling is gaining strong support in mainstream Western medicine, with public hospital systems now directly funding its use.

Modern dry needling is based on current medical science and research known and accepted by today’s primary care, orthopedic, neurologic and pain management physicians. However, the positive effect on pain of inserting a needle is likely to be similar, whether administered as part of a dry needling or acupuncture treatment.

Hylands Earache Drops


What is dry needling and how it differs from acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific sites on the body chosen according to the guiding principles of Traditional Oriental Medicine.

Over 2500 years old

Explanation of how acupuncture works

Channels that run in patterns

Energy channels flow through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues and organs

Comparing a dam that is stopped up

Unblocking the obstructions

Helping meridians flow

Healthy meridians are helping the body



Names of dry needling

What is dry vs wet

Other names

Types of usage

Muscle Twitch Uses

Theory A

Pain ->Trauma->signal receptors->feedback to cord/reflex arc

Motor neurons getting stuck in loop->creating muscle spasm->nonstop spasm

Needle creates stimulation that interrupts process

Theory B

Damaged tissue creates spasm->decreased bloodflow/death/scar tissue->tense muscle

Twitch response causes this relaxation of the muscle

Creating damage and encouraging healing

Ie: achilles

Small lesions

Lots of microtrauma


Is is safe?


Risk fastors Acupuncturist vs PT/chiro/etc.

What does it feel like?

Some states it is not accessed

Part of the big picture of treatment


Red Hammer Rehab website

Red Hammer Rehab on Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram


Dr. Heather North

Bio:  Heather North holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado.  She is the owner of Red Hammer Rehab in Louisville, CO that specializes in sports-related orthopaedic injuries and prevention.  This practice has won “Best Sports Medicine Rehab Facility” and “Best Sports Medicine Doctor” year upon year since it’s opening. Heather’s focus is on sports medicine and orthopaedic manual and manipulation physical therapy.  She is known for being aggressive with injuries and focusing on discovering and fixing the mechanics behind each and every injury.  She believes that it is important to continue to learn the newest and most up to date techniques. Heather’s philosophy revolves around getting patients recovered quickly and teaching them to sustain a healthy state.  Injuries can only be eliminated by addressing bio-mechanical causes and then aggressively treating the damage created from these issues.  When not in the clinic, Heather enjoys road/trail running, mountain biking, coaching for Revolution Running (she is the group’s in-house physio), and spending time in the mountains with her husband Ewen.  She regularly competes in races all over including the Pikes Peak Marathon. Heather was a college level swimmer and has even tested the waters with triathlon in her post-collegiate years as well.




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

WiSP Sports Mission Statement 

The core values of WiSP Sports are based on the following principles to:

  • Honor women’s stories and the right to play
  • Maintain women’s dignity 
  • Protect women’s integrity in sport and society
  • Strive to achieve gender equality and fairness in all sporting endeavors
  • Empower women of all generations
  • Celebrate the achievements of women athletes in all sports

By submitting this form, you are granting: WiSP Sports, WiSP Sports, Jasper, GA, 30143, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy ( for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

WiSP Sports, Inc. Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

To Top