Perfect timing for this literature review. I’ve had several colleagues recently ask me about courses for dry needling and even questions from students observing me on why I did not perform the ‘in and out pistoning’ approach to just trigger points, as they have witnessed from other physical therapists.  A recent article was sent to all parties.

The open access narrative review is entitled “Dry needling: a literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines” authored by Dunning J et al (President of the Spinal Manipulation and Dry Needling Institute). It is an extensive, 196-referenced report and in my opinion, a game changer.

What do I mean by that?  This article will open up discussion from both a clinical standpoint and regulatory standpoint.  Hopefully it will be the start to allowing physical therapists to treat all neuromuscularskeletal conditions with this intervention, and not just trigger points (such as is the law for North Carolina…of which I am a resident).

I highly recommend anyone who currently performs dry needling as a physical therapist OR considering taking a dry needling course to read.  I promise it will be worth it and may change your mind on the type of dry needling approach you are taking.

Take about 30 minutes and read for yourself. I would like to know what you think and we can start a discussion in comment section below. 



    1. Lee,
      Hmm…it is a broken link now for me too (worked fine this weekend).

      I’ll keep on trying and get back with you as soon as I can!

  1. harrison, the link does not work, Ill be interested to see Dunning’s perspective on this, can you post again, I cant seem to find it anywhere else, thanks and I look forward to some good discussion on this.

    1. Hey Jake,
      Yeh I’m working on finding a link that works. It is open access and should be available. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

  2. Hello,

    I stumbled across your blog and have a comment to make. This article you cite from Dunning (I could only get to the abstract) will re-open the fight in most states that PT’s are performing acupuncture vs trigger point dry needling, on the basis that the technique looks the same. Which whom you are learning from is a acupuncturist. I believe sticking to either Gunn’s theory or Travels’ or Lewitts’ concepts will keep a distinct difference in what we are doing and what they are doing and keep this process moving forward in all states versus being a constant battle state to state.

    1. JQA,
      I appreciate you visiting the site and thanks for your comment— interesting points coming from a different perspective. I think one of the major points that comes across from the review is the point that our dry needling intervention is limited to just myofascial trigger points in a few states. This does limit the ability to treat the entire neuromuscular system, and not just the muscular system.

      Here is the link to the article. You should be able to access the PDF from here. Let me know what you think after reading it.


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