|Action||Practice of dry needling|
|Comment Period||Ends 7/26/2019|
As a physical therapist licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I am in strong support of our use of dry needling in the treatment of pain and movement dysfunction. Prior to admission into a doctoral level program, we are required to complete an average of 45 credit hours combined of applied life sciences, physical sciences and mathematics. Additionally, completion of a bachelor’s degrees is required. Our PT curriculum then consists of three full years of extensive training in human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, rehabilitation sciences, differential diagnosis and up to 50 weeks of hands on clinical training. The comprehensive curriculum completed by physical therapists combined with the post-graduate course work and training in dry needling are more than sufficient to allow for safe and effective use of dry needling as an adjunct to other physical therapy treatments.
Additionally, it is important to note that dry needling means there is a needle being inserted into tissue with medication and nothing else. Placement of the needles is based on the therapist’s knowledge of anatomy and physiology, principles which are grounded in western medical principles and not traditional Chinese medicine. Therefore, this type of needle intervention is not acupuncture.
Our current proposed regulation suggests that PTs complete post-graduate coursework in dry needling to be able to perform this treatment. Additionally, it notes that needling should not be used outside of the scope of your most current level of training. As a PT who has recently taken a dry needling course and integrated it into my practice, I have used sound clinical judgement in choosing not to needle an area in which I was not instructed. Furthermore, these classes spend a sufficient amount of time educating therapists and other attendees (MDs, DOs, DCs, NPs, PAs, ATCs) in the dangers of pneumothorax and how to avoid. We also spent an ample amount of time on how to identify and avoid trauma to the kidney and neurovascular structures.
In summary, I fully support the use of dry needling in the treatment of pain and movement dysfunction by a physical therapist. I have full confidence that any PT adhering to the Code of Ethics and Guide to Professional Conduct outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association would make sound clinical judgements when choosing this treatment and refer to a specialist or other professional as indicated.
I appreciate the opportunity to comment and look forward to continued use of dry needling in my practice.