American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists Position Statement on Dry Needling

March 10th, 2009 – The Executive Committee of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) charged the Practice Affairs Committee to investigate the basis of “dry needling” within physical therapist practice.  Following an extensive review of the literature and discussions among the committee members, the Practice Affairs Committee brought forth the following position for the Executive Committee to review:

AAOMPT Executive Committee Position Statement:

It is the Position of the AAOMPT Executive Committee that dry needling is within the scope of physical therapist practice.

Support Statement:

Dry needling is a neurophysiological evidence-based treatment technique that requires effective manual assessment of the neuromuscular system.  Physical therapists are well trained to utilize dry needling in conjunction with manual physical therapy interventions.  Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.

This has been approved as an official position of the AAOMPT Executive Committee.  In October at the AAOMPT Annual Conference in Washington, DC the AAOMPT Membership will have the opportunity to determine if this should be accepted as a Position of the AAOMPT Membership.  This process is very similar to how the APTA process works wherein there are official positions of the APTA Board and official positions of the Association that come from the APTA House of Delegates.  In some cases, the APTA Board will pass a position statement and in time the House of Delegates may pass the same or a similar position statement.