Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Dry Needling Improves Outcomes For Patients With Chronic Back Pain

In our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics we commonly see patients with back pain that have not improved with other Physical Therapy clinics.  Our Physical Therapists focus on the utilization of high level exercise, manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, and dry needling for the treatment of both acute and chronic low back pain.  We find optimal outcomes in fewer visits when these interventions are combined with strong clinical reasoning skills.

Dry needling is a relatively newer intervention provided to patients with extremity and spinal pain.  The placement of a small, solid needle into painful muscles can bring significant improvements in mobility, pain, and function.  In our practices, we have found dry needling is most effective when combined with other interventions including manual therapy and exercise.  A recent study highlights the benefits of dry needling for patients with chronic low back pain.

Lara-Palomo and colleagues published their systematic review and meta analysis on the benefits of dry needling for patients with chronic low back pain (Altern Ther Health Med. 2023).  Authors included 8 randomized controlled trials of over 400 patients.  They found our current medical evidence supports the utilization of dry needling to relieve pain both after treatment and at short term follow ups.  Conversely, they found dry needling did not impact patient function at these time points.  As expected, dry needling was most effective when it was utilized with other interventions such as manual therapy and exercise vs. as a stand alone treatment.

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