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Concept: Dry needling



This paper reports a rare iatrogenic complication of acupuncture-induced haemothorax and comments on the importance and need for special education of physicians and physiotherapists in order to apply safe and effective acupuncture treatment. A 37-year-old healthy woman had a session of acupuncture treatments for neck and right upper thoracic non-specific musculoskeletal pain, after which she gradually developed dyspnoea and chest discomfort. After some delay while trying other treatment, she was eventually transferred to the emergency department where a chest X-ray revealed a right pneumothorax and fluid collection. She was admitted to hospital and a chest tube inserted into the right hemithorax (under ultrasound guidance) drained 800 mL of bloody fluid (haematocrit (Hct) 17.8%) in 24 h and 1200 mL over the following 3 days. Her blood Hct fell from 39.0% to 30.8% and haemoglobin from 12.7 to 10.3 g/dL. The patient recovered completely and was discharged after 9 days of hospitalisation. When dyspnoea, chest pain and discomfort occur during or after an acupuncture treatment, the possibility of secondary (traumatic) pneumo- or haemopneumothorax should be considered and the patient should remain under careful observation (watchful waiting) for at least 48 h. To maximise the safety of acupuncture, specific training should be given for the safe use of acupuncture points of the anterior and posterior thoracic wall using dry needling, trigger point acupuncture or other advanced acupuncture techniques.

Concepts: Dry needling, Thoracic cavity, Trigger point, Chest tube, Hemothorax, Hospital, Pneumothorax, Acupuncture


Although Western medical acupuncture (WMA) is commonly practised in the UK, a particular approach called dry needling (DN) is becoming increasingly popular in other countries. The legitimacy of the use of DN by conventional non-physician healthcare professionals is questioned by acupuncturists. This article describes the ongoing debate over the practice of DN between physical therapists and acupuncturists, with a particular emphasis on the USA. DN and acupuncture share many similarities but may differ in certain aspects. Currently, little information is available from the literature regarding the relationship between the two needling techniques. Through reviewing their origins, theory, and practice, we found that DN and acupuncture overlap in terms of needling technique with solid filiform needles as well as some fundamental theories. Both WMA and DN are based on modern biomedical understandings of the human body, although DN arguably represents only one subcategory of WMA. The increasing volume of research into needling therapy explains its growing popularity in the musculoskeletal field including sports medicine. To resolve the debate over DN practice, we call for the establishment of a regulatory body to accredit DN courses and a formal, comprehensive educational component and training for healthcare professionals who are not physicians or acupuncturists. Because of the close relationship between DN and acupuncture, collaboration rather than dispute between acupuncturists and other healthcare professionals should be encouraged with respect to education, research, and practice for the benefit of patients with musculoskeletal conditions who require needling therapy.

Concepts: Health care provider, Therapy, Manipulative therapy, Medical acupuncture, Human body, Medicine, Dry needling, Acupuncture


Application of dry needling is usually associated to post-needling induced-pain. Development of post-needling intervention targeting to reduce this adverse event is needed.

Concepts: Myofascial pain syndrome, Dry needling, Pain, Trigger point, Acupuncture


The aim of this study was to determine if a needle is able to reach the cervical multifidus during the application of dry needling or acupuncture.

Concepts: Acupuncture, Dry needling


The purpose of this meta-analysis was to compare the impact of platelet-rich plasma with that of placebo or dry needling injections on tendinopathy.

Concepts: Dry needling


During the past decades, worldwide clinical and scientific interest in dry needling (DN) therapy has grown exponentially. Various clinical effects have been credited to dry needling, but rigorous evidence about its potential physiological mechanisms of actions and effects is still lacking. Research identifying these exact mechanisms of dry needling action is sparse and studies performed in an acupuncture setting do not necessarily apply to DN. The studies of potential effects of DN are reviewed in reference to the different aspects involved in the pathophysiology of myofascial triggerpoints: the taut band, local ischemia and hypoxia, peripheral and central sensitization. This article aims to provide the physiotherapist with a greater understanding of the contemporary data available: what effects could be attributed to dry needling and what are their potential underlying mechanisms of action, and also indicate some directions at which future research could be aimed to fill current voids.

Concepts: Physiology, Dry needling, The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna


To attempt to establish an objective quantitative indicator to characterize the trigger point activity, so as to evaluate the effect of dry needling on myofascial trigger point activity.

Concepts: Dry needling, The Trigger, Thermodynamics, Injuries, Acupuncture, Myofascial release, Trigger point


This review aimed to describe the state of the art in muscle-tendon unit (MTU) assessment by supersonic shear wave imaging (SSI) elastography in states of muscle contraction and stretching, during aging, and in response to injury and therapeutic interventions. A consensus exists that MTU elasticity increases during passive stretching or contraction, and decreases after static stretching, electrostimulation, massage, and dry needling. There is currently no agreement regarding changes in the MTU due to aging and injury. Currently, the application of SSI for the purpose of diagnosis, rehabilitation, and physical training remains limited by a number of issues, including the lack of normative value ranges, the lack of consensus regarding the appropriate terminology, and an inadequate understanding of the main technical limitations of this novel technology.

Concepts: Dry needling, Muscle, Stretching, Normative, Physical exercise, Optics, State, Exercise


This systematic review of randomized controlled trials aimed to examine the effectiveness of dry needling in the treatment of myofascial trigger points and to explore the impact of specific aspects of the technique on its effectiveness.

Concepts: Systematic review, Dry needling, Clinical trial, The Technique, Acupuncture, Myofascial release, Trigger point, Randomized controlled trial