We are now seeing systematic review level papers come out on the topic of dry needling. This is the highest level of evidence which means the findings should guide both practitioners and patients in best practice. A 2023 article named "Effectiveness of Dry Needling in Improving Pain and Function in Comparison with Other Techniques in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain" by Hernández-Secorún et al. compared the effectiveness of dry needling on both pain and function. They looked at short (<1 month), mid (1-3 months), and long-term (>3 months) intervals and compared it against other common intervention such as manual therapy, ultrasound, or stretching.
The research supports the use of dry needling in short and mid-term intervals. There were less studies that looked at long-term time frames and the results were more variable.
Dry needling combined with physical therapy interventions found the most decreased pain and improvements in function.
Those over 40 years of age seemed to have a better response with dry needling than those under 40.
My clinical interpretation is that dry needling is a tool best used with other physical therapy interventions and that it is moderately to highly effective for the treatment of neck pain.
Most of the studies used 1-3 sessions of dry needling in a 2-week time period but exact dosage is still variable and depends on the patient/practitioner.
I recommend the use of dry needling and use it in the majority of my patients. If you'd like to learn more about dry needling or if you have neck pain that you'd like to get rid of, then don't hesitate to reach out to me at the contacts below.
I hope this was helpful and let's talk soon.
Dr. Sieara Hinshaw
Physical Therapist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Cert. in Dry Needling