Dry Needling

Recent update about dry needling in the State of New Jersey:

The New Jersey Attorney General recently issued an opinion finding that dry needling is not within the scope of practice of physical therapy based upon the current "statutory construct" in the current Physical Therapy Licensing Act.

Upon review of the opinion, the Board is providing notice that effective immediately, but no later than July 1, 2017, licensees shall not accept new patients for the purpose of administering dry needling within their physical therapy care. All licensees shall cease to provide dry needling to existing patients no later than September 1, 2017.

This will allow adequate time for licensees to properly inform their patients that they can no longer offer dry needling as a treatment and appropriately refer patients to health care professionals who can continue to perform their physical therapy treatment that may include dry needling in a jurisdiction where it is permitted.


Dry needling is also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS) and trigger point dry needling (TDN). Dry needling is called such because the needles used in this treatment method are "dry", solid filament needles, versus hypodermic needles that can inject medication or draw fluids through them. This treatment involves insertion and repetitive manipulation of the needle in the trigger point in order to produce an involuntary spinal cord reflex, also known as a local twitch response (LTR), which results in lasting muscle relaxation due to the release of shortened bands of muscle fibers for overactive (tight) muscles or the strengthening of under-active (weak) muscles.

Dry needling is best on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. It is used for the assessment and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes and dysfunction due to myofascial trigger points / tension areas / muscle spasm / increased tonicity (the direct and palpable source of patient pain). It targets the myofascia (connective tissue covering the muscles) lying just below the skin, including trigger points, and achieves pain relief by inactivating these trigger points at the muscle cell level, which relaxes the muscles due to the release of shortened bands of muscle fibers and stimulation of collagen and protein formation.

People with overuse injuries, chronic pain or sports injuries who have good results with massage but are disappointed when the discomfort returns may find dry needling a great way to get more long lasting pain relief. Call us to schedule an appointment today.