Dry needling for neck pain may give you significant and long-lasting relief when used in the right situations. It’s a very effective treatment for neck pain in many cases and becoming increasingly recommended.

One of the most common complaints that present to my chiropractic office is neck pain, and I frequently use dry needling as an important part of my therapeutic strategy. If you’ve suffered from neck pain, I would encourage you to try dry needling to relieve your neck pain.

Let’s take a look at some of the questions I get when I recommend dry needling for neck pain including Is dry needling for neck pain safe? Is dry needling for neck pain effective? What is a typical dry needling for neck pain experience like?

Is Dry Needling for Neck Pain Safe?

The overwhelming answer is yes, dry needling is a safe treatment for neck pain.

If you’re being treated by a trained, licensed, and experienced provider you’re in good hands and the risks are low. That’s not to say there aren’t risks if you have dry needling for neck pain, but the common side effects are very minimal and include muscle soreness, pain at the needle insertion site, and mild bruising.

I always inform my patients that there’s a risk to any healthcare treatment that you undergo, but overall the risks of dry needling are minimal. This is especially when you compare medical interventions for neck pain like pharmaceutical drugs, steroid injections, or neck surgery.

Is Dry Needling for Neck Pain Effective?

Dry Needling for neck pain is effective at relieving pain and improving neck range of motion.

Don’t take my word for it, instead see this study in Pain Journal –> Effectiveness of Dry Needling for Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain

There are a lot of reasons for chronic neck discomfort and acute neck discomfort, but overall, the most uncomfortable symptom is neck pain. It can be hard to rehabilitate your injury if you have severe or constant neck pain, so reducing pain is often a good first step. I’m in private practice as a chiropractor in Cary NC, and I’ve seen patients walk in the office with debilitating neck pain and walk out feeling considerably better immediately after treatment.

I don’t recommend dry needling for neck pain as a stand-alone treatment, but instead in combination with other appropriate treatments like stretches and corrective exercises, chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue manual therapy, and sometimes passive therapies.

The number one most important thing you need to do before considering dry needling for neck pain is to get a comprehensive exam for your neck pain. You have a number of providers that can do this, but I recommend seeing a chiropractor. Our Cary chiropractors evaluate and treat neck pain on a daily basis so we have a lot of experience in how to address neck injuries. 

What is a Typical Dry Needling for Neck Pain Experience Like?

Dry needling for neck pain involves identifying “knots” or myofascial trigger points and placing a small and thin acupuncture needling into these trigger points. Some of the common muscles with trigger points that cause neck pain are:

  • Upper trapezius muscles
  • Suboccipital muscles
  • Cervical erector muscles
  • SCM muscles
  • Levator scapula muscles

All of these muscles have connections to the neck, and because of that can be a cause of acute or chronic neck pain. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with something such a herniated disc, sprain or strain, degenerative joint changes, whiplash, or something else, trigger points in these muscles often are part of the reason you have neck pain.

Here’s a general breakdown of a typical dry needling treatment in my Cary chiropractic office for treatment of neck pain:

  • 30-minute appointments.
  • Always begin with a trial of care around 6 visits to evaluate if you’re getting relief from neck pain with dry needling. If you’re not, we’ll try another treatment or refer you to someone who can help.
  • Dry needling appointments always begin with a brief re-evaluation to see what’s improved or what’s changed since the last visit.
  • Needles are placed into trigger points and create a muscle twitch response, during which the muscle fibers of the trigger point twitch and eventually stop when the trigger point is “deactivated.”
  • As a chiropractor trained in acupuncture, I’ll sometimes use acupuncture points to help relieve pain as well during a dry needling appointment.
  • Needles are removed and our chiropractors review how you’re progressing and your stretching and corrective exercise program.

If you’re suffering from neck pain, whether you’ve already been diagnosed with a specific injury or not, dry needling can often bring neck pain relief. Make sure you find a provider who’s skilled in dry needling and uses dry needling as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. 

Why Dry Needling is the Key to Your Neck Pain <– I’ve written more about dry needling for neck pain here if you’re still curious!

Dr. Jason Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. He treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating athletes, especially those in the CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA community.

If you’re interested in whether he or another AccessHealth provider can help you, navigate to our contact page or follow this link to request an appointment.