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Upper Back/Neck Pain? Dry Needling may be the Answer!

Hello Everyone!

We wanted to share a case study on how dry needling can be used to treat chronic upper back/neck pain.

Background Information:

We recently had a 32 year old female come in complaining of pain in the left side of her neck, as well knots in her neck and upper back. Due to her symptoms she was having troubles while at the gym due to her pain. Recently, she started experiencing migraines 3 times a week, and noticed her pain would increase after sitting on the computer for long periods of time. After an assessment our physiotherapist found she had trigger points on the upper right side of her back and the base of her skull.

Proposed Treatment:

Our physiotherapist recommended dry needling the patient's trigger points for 3 sessions to help reduce muscle tightness and increase blood flow to her neck and upper back. They also recommended some exercises to improve the strength of her neck and mid-back stabilizers. Finally, our physiotherapist focused on educating the patient on the importance of standing breaks while working on the computer every 30 minutes.


After just two sessions, our patient experienced decreased tenderness in the knots in her back/neck, and experienced complete relief of her migraine symptoms. She was also able to get back to her regular gym routine without experiencing her usual upper back/neck pain.

The Science Behind Dry Needling:

Dry needling is able to reduce pain symptoms through reducing the excitability of the central nervous system. By needling a trigger point, the needle is able to reduce the pain signal produced by the trigger point, which helps reduce pain symptoms.

Dry needling can be especially helpful for pain originating from:

  • Neck and Lower Baack

  • Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

  • Migraines/Headaches

  • TMJ

  • Whiplash

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