Physiologic Effects of Dry Needling

  • Barbara CagnieEmail author
  • Vincent Dewitte
  • Tom Barbe
  • Frank Timmermans
  • Nicolas Delrue
  • Mira Meeus
Myofascial Pain (R Gerwin, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Myofascial Pain


During the past decades, worldwide clinical and scientific interest in dry needling (DN) therapy has grown exponentially. Various clinical effects have been credited to dry needling, but rigorous evidence about its potential physiological mechanisms of actions and effects is still lacking. Research identifying these exact mechanisms of dry needling action is sparse and studies performed in an acupuncture setting do not necessarily apply to DN. The studies of potential effects of DN are reviewed in reference to the different aspects involved in the pathophysiology of myofascial triggerpoints: the taut band, local ischemia and hypoxia, peripheral and central sensitization. This article aims to provide the physiotherapist with a greater understanding of the contemporary data available: what effects could be attributed to dry needling and what are their potential underlying mechanisms of action, and also indicate some directions at which future research could be aimed to fill current voids.


Myofascial trigger point Myofascial pain syndrome Dry needling Sensitization Physiological Effects Pain physiology 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Barbara Cagnie reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Mr. Vincent Dewitte reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Mr. Tom Barbe reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Mr. Frank Timmermans reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Mr. Nicolas Delrue reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Dr. Mira Meeus reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Cagnie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vincent Dewitte
    • 1
  • Tom Barbe
    • 1
  • Frank Timmermans
    • 2
  • Nicolas Delrue
    • 3
  • Mira Meeus
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and PhysiotherapyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Uplands Physiotherapy ClinicPentictonCanada
  3. 3.WevelgemBelgium
  4. 4.“Pain in Motion” Research Group, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health ScienceUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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