Golden Oldie - The effectiveness of trigger point dry needling for musculoskeletal conditions by physical therapists: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Review written by Dr Fiona Wilson info

Key Points

  1. Dry needling is becoming a popular part of modern-day physiotherapy practice.
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Dry needling (DN) is a technique in which a fine needle is used to penetrate the skin, subcutaneous tissues and muscle aiming to mechanically disrupt tissue. While the physiological mechanism proposed to support DN is not firmly supported, it is hypothesised that it may produce both local and central nervous system responses to restore homeostasis at the site of the needling. An increasing number of physiotherapists are adopting DN as a core part of their practice, yet evidence supporting this practice is conflicting. This systematic review aimed to examine the short and long-term effectiveness of dry needling delivered by a physiotherapist on any musculoskeletal (MSK) condition.

The physiological mechanism proposed to support dry needling is not firmly supported.
This review highlights that there is a lack of high-quality studies to support the practice of dry needling.


Electronic databases were searched for studies that were randomized controlled trials examining the effect of physiotherapist delivered DN for any MSK condition in human participants. Studies must have compared DN with a control or other intervention. Quality of studies were

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