Can Trigger Point Dry Needling Relieve Tension Headaches?


Foothills Sports Medicine employees are leading providers of Arizona Physical Therapy thanks to our individualized, hands-on approach to patient care. We want to help you achieve a pain-free, healthy life, and you can start by scheduling a free assessment of your therapy needs here today. For more information about Arizona physical therapy, check out our blog!

Ashley Phillips is a Doctorate of Physical Therapy who is passionate about helping her patients achieve the goals most important to them. She explains possible causes of tension headaches, and how a new technique called Trigger Point Dry Needling could help you overcome them.

Tension headaches are a common type of headache, and they often affect those suffering from migraines as well. They are typically characterized by a mild to moderate dull ache on both sides of the head, and they can last up to several days. Tension headaches arise due to tightness in the muscles of the head and neck in response to stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, or poor posture.

Active trigger points are often found in tight muscles in the head and neck of those suffering from tension headaches. A trigger point is a sensitive area in the body that can be tender to the touch and refers pain to other parts of the body. They also lead to muscle weakness and restrictions in range of motion. Trigger points are caused by overuse, increased stress, poor posture, or in response to injury. Pressing these trigger points in muscles of the head and neck will cause you to feel pain in the area your headache is located. If trigger points are not treated, they can turn periodic headaches into chronic tension headaches.

So how do we treat these trigger points? Trigger point dry needling (TDN) is a technique used by physical therapists to treat neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. TDN is often used in combination with other physical therapy techniques to treat patients with various symptoms and diagnoses, including tension headaches. Trigger point dry needling is a procedure that involves inserting a thin filiform needle through the skin and into the underlying trigger point located in the muscle, causing the trigger point to release. Using dry needling to treat trigger points in the muscles of the head and neck can decrease pain in the head, and in turn relieve tension headaches.

Trigger point dry needling may be the solution to tension headaches that you’ve been looking for, and it can also be used to treat multiple other conditions. Contact Foothills Sports Medicine to learn more about the treatment from our certified specialists, who can determine whether it is right for you.


Ashley Phillips

PT, DPT | Metro Center Location