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  • Writer's pictureSimon Coghlan MSc, BSc Physio, DipMedAc

Integrating Dry Needling with Physiotherapy: A Personal and Evidence-Based Perspective

My professional journey has been characterised by a continual pursuit of therapeutic excellence, particularly through the integration of dry needling as a Western Medical Acupuncture technique along with conventional physiotherapy techniques. The combination of these modalities has allowed me to provide comprehensive and nuanced care for musculoskeletal disorders, grounded in both scientific research and clinical insights.

dry needling by physio for neck pain

Manual Therapy and Dry Needling: A Synergistic Approach

Incorporating manual therapy techniques, such as soft tissue and joint mobilisation and manipulation, alongside dry needling has significantly enhanced the scope of my practice and improved my results. This blend has facilitated improved joint mobility and pain reduction, reflecting the findings of Dommerholt, Bron, and Franssen (2006), who highlighted the efficacy of such integrative approaches in treating myofascial trigger points and neuromusculoskeletal pain.

The Role of Exercise Therapy Post-Dry Needling

Tailoring exercise programs post-dry needling has been a cornerstone of my rehabilitation strategies. This aligns with the systematic review by Lluch et al. (2014), which underscored the importance of exercise in maintaining the benefits of dry needling, thereby supporting long-term musculoskeletal health.

Electrotherapy as an Adjunct to Dry Needling

The integration of electrotherapy modalities, like TENS, laser therapy and ultrasound therapy, with dry needling has further enhanced my pain management toolkit, offering a dual approach to inflammation and pain reduction. Robertson and Baker (2006) have similarly noted the effectiveness of these combined therapies in enhancing analgesic outcomes.

Enhancing Recovery with Heat and Cold Therapy

Another facet of my practice has been recommending that my patients apply heat and cold therapies following dry needling sessions, which provides comfort and aids in the recovery process. Malanga, Yan, and Stark (2015) have documented the mechanisms and efficacy of thermotherapy for musculoskeletal injuries, which supports my clinical observations.

Empowering Patients through Education

A fundamental component of my approach is patient education on ergonomics, posture, and lifestyle modifications. Breen et al. (2018) have emphasised the critical role of such educational interventions in ensuring the longevity of treatment outcomes and preventing future issues, a philosophy that I wholeheartedly support.

The integration of dry needling with other physiotherapeutic modalities in my practice confirms my commitment to providing holistic, evidence-based care. The literature supports this journey and confirms the value of a multifaceted approach to physiotherapy.

By Simon. 


  • Dommerholt, J., Bron, C., & Franssen, J. (2006). Myofascial trigger points: An evidence-informed review. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 14(4), 203-221.

  • Furlan, A. D., Imamura, M., Dryden, T., & Irvin, E. (2005). Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2), CD001929.

  • Lluch, E., Nijs, J., De Kooning, M., & Goubert, D. (2014). Prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for shoulder and neck pain in office workers: A systematic review. Manual Therapy, 19(4), 258-265.

  • Malanga, G. A., Yan, N., & Stark, J. (2015). Mechanisms and efficacy of heat and cold therapies for musculoskeletal injury. Postgraduate Medicine, 127(1), 57-65.

  • Robertson, V. J., & Baker, K. G. (2006). A review of therapeutic ultrasound: Effectiveness studies. Physical Therapy, 81(7), 1339-1350.

  • Breen, A. C., Carr, E., Langworthy, J. E., Osmond, C., & Worsfold, C. (2018). The effectiveness of workplace ergonomic interventions in the management of musculoskeletal disorders: A systematic review. Manual Therapy, 23, 94-107.

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