I have been a physical therapist for 20 years. I have yet to experience an intervention as effective as dry needling for treating musculoskeletal pain. I started dry needling around 2008 when there was minimal evidence based research supporting its effects. Clinically I found it to be extremely effective at reducing tension in muscles that were identified as causing pain. However, the research supporting trigger point dry needling in 2008 was inadequate.
This recent article by Broyles et al in August 2016, proves that the research has come along way over the past 8 years and provides evidence in support of dry needling for multiple body parts and regions. In this article, Broyles summarizes 19 randomized control trials that support trigger point dry needling and it effectiveness. Clinically, I have witnessed the benefits of dry needling to reduce pain and tension in muscles. I use it daily to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, lower back pain, neck pain, rotator cuff disorders, lateral epicondylitis, knee pain, Achilles tendonitis, and other myofascial related disorders. There are minimal adverse effects from dry needling and the relief or some patients is often instant.
In 2008, only 8 states supported physical therapists performing dry needling. Now, in 2018, 43 states support physical therapists performing dry needling. The reason for the increase in popularity lies in the evidence based research, the successful outcomes therapists are having with their patients, and the increase in direct access.
As a dry needling instructor for the Institute of Advanced Musculoskeletal Treatments (www.IAMT.org) and a clinic director of 14 years with Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center (www.vtfc.com), I have observed the benefits of dry needling in patients and heard success stories from physical therapists across the country. If you are suffering from pain, or have questions regarding dry needling, please review the attached article or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Physical Therapy is a wonderful profession that is capable of healing patients without medication or surgeries. We have many tools and skills that we use to heal patients. Dry needling is only one of those skills, but it may be the best when it comes to musculoskeletal pain.