New law permits physical therapists to perform dry needling under certain conditions

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Prior to 2017, the doctors of physical therapy at ProFysio, and many other physical therapy clinics, were providing dry needling treatment to their patients for conditions like tendinopathy, myofascial trigger points, shoulder pain, and TMJ syndrome. All of the physical therapists at ProFysio that were providing the treatment had completed additional academic and practical training in the technique, and demonstrated clinical competency before utilizing the treatment to help their patients.

The treatment was, and still is, very effective and the patients that received dry needling often enjoyed excellent clinical outcomes. However, on Feb. 9, 2017, the State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General deemed that “dry needling is not within the scope of physical therapy practice.”

Of course, we discontinued providing the treatment immediately.  Many of our patients were extremely disappointed that we could no longer provide this treatment for their ailments.

Since 2017, The American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey has lobbied to pass legislation that would make dry needling formally part of physical therapy practice. On Jan. 18, Gov. Phil Murphy signed S867 which “Permits physical therapists to perform dry needling under certain circumstances” into law.  The bill will go into effect in 90 days.

The new law NJ S867 establishes new requirements for a physical therapist to provide the treatment including a minimum of 2 years of clinical experience treating patients and that the physical therapist has completed dry needling training or certification by a program curriculum that has received board approval from the New Jersey State Board of Physical Therapy.

Dry needling is the insertion of a very thin needle into and around a myofascial trigger point. Dry needling does not mean the stimulation of auricular or distal points or the practice of acupuncture. This form of treatment has multiple effects that include release of the myofascial trigger point, breakdown of adhesions in the muscle, reduction in pain and inflammation, and relaxation of the local and central nervous system. The principles of dry needling are founded on anatomy and the role of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems on pain.

We are very excited that in the near future we will once again be able to provide this very valuable treatment for our patients. To learn more about the treatments currently offered at ProFysio Physical Therapy or to schedule an appointment visit ProFysioNJ.com.