Dr. Sean M. Wells of Naples presents the case in favor of dry needling.

Physical therapists (PTs) are doctors with many specialties like exercise, manual therapy, modalities, and anatomy. PTs take cadaver-based anatomy often in the same room as MDs and PAs in school. Acupuncture schools typically use online modules and models for anatomy, which offer inferior spatial anatomy training. Peuker and Grönemeyer in 2001 looked at adverse cases of acupuncturists and concluded enhanced anatomy training was needed for prevention.


PTs have been dry needling in 34 US States, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand to name a few. With so many PTs needling worldwide, data exist on PTs vs acupuncturist in terms of risk. Xu, Shifen, et al. in 2013 found that acupuncturists had higher rates of adverse events, including infections and pneumothoraxes, than PTs. Of serious organ damage, such as punctured spinal cords, cases demonstrate these were done by acupuncturists needling too deep. Perhaps acupuncturists need more education on anatomy, depth, and infection control?


The author of your article cites HPSO has received 34 adverse events in the last five years for PTs. Adverse events could range from minor issues like bruising, pain, or local infection to something serious like a pneumothorax, which exact numbers are not cited. The Xu, Shiften article I cite offers raw data that acupuncturists have a higher number of adverse events than PTs over a 12 year period, in 25 countries/regions.


To dry needle, PTs must pass several certificate courses. Such courses involve didactic and lab assessments and is typically staged over 75-100 hours. Given the doctoral training, this is more than sufficient training, and the adverse events data supports this. In the end, PTs deserve the right to needle in Florida.


Source links: https://new.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/581203/ and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1136/aim.19.2.103


Dr. Sean M. Wells, Naples