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Dry Needling of Tendons Is NOT a Placebo

Prolotherapy Definition

Encourage even more tendon healing than dry needling with Prolotherapy!

Dry needling of tendons is not a placebo, but is a treatment in and of itself.

We have a couple of takeaways in this article:

  1. Since dry needling is not a placebo, then when researchers do studies that compare such treatments as PRP to dry needling. This needs to be understood and taken into consideration when comparing results. Dry needling is a treatment too. And dry needling has been shown to be effective at reducing painful tendon conditions.
  2. Dry needling encourages localized bleeding and fibroblastic proliferation. That means it boosts the body’s natural healing cascade, which is also one of the healing mechanisms of Regenerative Orthopedics. But Regenerative Orthopedics also adds potent growth factors to begin tissue repair and regeneration at the injury site.

What Does the Research Say About Dry Needling as a Treatment?

Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine says, “Dry needling involves inserting needles into the affected tendon, and it is thought to disrupt the chronic degenerative process and encourage localized bleeding and fibroblastic proliferation.”1 Dextrose Prolotherapy works by similar means. But it also adds the benefit of dextrose. That means it will boost the body’s natural healing cascade by introducing this natural substance.

And dry needling has also been shown to have a positive effect by decreasing knee pain. A study in the Journal of Clinical Medicine demonstrates that “low to moderate evidence suggests a positive effect of trigger point dry needling on pain and related disability in patellofemoral pain.”2 Again, dry needling is a treatment in itself and not a placebo.

And dry needling also decreases tennis elbow pain. A 2020 article in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation found that the the treatment reduced pain intensity. And it had a “positive effect on pain-related disability, pressure pain sensitivity and strength at short-term in patients with lateral epicondylalgia (tennis elbow) of musculoskeletal origin.”3

Regenerative Orthopedics Boost the Healing Effect Even More

There is a benefit  to the healing process when a needle is inserted at the attachment of a tendon and of a ligament. And there is more of a benefit when the solutions used in Prolotherapy, PRP, and Stem Cell Therapy are part of the therapy. Regenerative Orthopedics are all injection techniques directed at tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue structures. The treatments are very effective at reducing and eliminating the pain involved in a multitude of painful joint conditions.

It makes sense that if it is helpful to reduce pain by just inserting a needle into the tendon, then it is even more helpful to include solutions that boost the healing capacity. At OrthoRegen, we have many years of experience treating people with painful joint conditions, and getting them back to doing the activities and sports that they love. Contact us today.


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  1. Sychev, Vladimir, Aharon S. Finestone, and Leonid Kalichman. “Dry Needling as a Treatment Modality for Tendinopathy: a Narrative Review.” Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine (2020): 1-8.
  2. Rahou-El-Bachiri, Youssef, et al. “Effects of Trigger Point Dry Needling for the Management of Knee Pain Syndromes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Clinical Medicine 9.7 (2020): 2044.
  3. Navarro-Santana, Marcos J., et al. “Effects of trigger point dry needling on lateral epicondylalgia of musculoskeletal origin: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Clinical Rehabilitation(2020): 0269215520937468.