Adverse events following trigger point dry needling

Trigger point dry needling (TrP-DN) is often used to treat individuals with myofascial pain, but no studies exist at this time that investigate its safety. The authors therefore undertook this study with the objective of determining the incidence of Adverse Events (AEs) associated with the use of TrP-DN by a sample of physiotherapists in Ireland. A prospective survey was undertaken made up of two forms recording mild and significant AEs. Physiotherapists who had completed TrP-DN training with the David G Simons Academy (DGSA) were eligible to take part in the study. Data were collected over a ten-month period. In the study, 39 physiotherapists participated and 1463 (19.18%) mild AEs were reported in 7629 treatments with TrP-DN. No significant AEs were reported giving an estimated upper risk rate for significant AEs of less than or equal to (≤) 0.04%. Common AEs included bruising (7.55%), bleeding (4.65%), pain during treatment (3.01%), and pain after treatment (2.19%). Uncommon AEs were aggravation of symptoms (0.88%), drowsiness (0.26%), headache (0.14%), and nausea (0.13%). Rare AEs were fatigue (0.04%), altered emotions (0.04%), shaking, itching, claustrophobia, and numbness, all 0.01%.

The authors concluded that while mild AEs were very frequently reported in their study of TrP-DN, no significant AEs occurred; for the physiotherapists surveyed, TrP-DN seemed to be a safe treatment.