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Adverse Events Associated with Acupuncture and Dry Needling Sponsored by the Acupuncture Division

Adverse Events Associated with Acupuncture and Dry Needling Sponsored by the Acupuncture Division

Adverse Events Associated with Acupuncture and Dry Needling Sponsored by the Acupuncture Division

Oct 16, 2019 - 12:00 (EDT)
60 minutes



Acupuncture and dry needling are increasingly utilized interventions among physiotherapists in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. When employing any new treatment technique, the inherent risks involved must be weighed against the potential therapeutic benefits. 

Knowledge of the adverse events (AE) associated with needling treatments is essential in the risk management of physiotherapy practices.  The types, frequency, prevention, and treatment of AE will be discussed. This will include bleeding and bruising, vasovagal responses, pneumothorax, infections, cardiac tamponade, nerve injuries, broken and forgotten needles and concerns related to pregnancy.

Recent case studies related to AE from acupuncture and dry needling will also be covered.

Relevance to Physiotherapy Practice

The practice of acupuncture and dry needling therapies are within the scope of practice of most Canadian physiotherapists. There have been increases in the claims related to dry needling interventions performed by physiotherapists.

Most adverse events related to acupuncture and dry needling can be prevented or minimized. Understanding the risks involved with any treatment is essential when weighing the benefits and appropriateness in developing an individual plan of care for a patien

Learning Objectives

  1. Upon completion of this webinar participants will be able to identify the common adverse events associated with needling modalities like acupuncture and dry needling.
  2. Participants will be able to minimize the risk of trauma or injury related to needling modalities.
  3. Participants will have increased confidence in discussing potential risks related to needling interventions with patients.


The instructors
Dr. Vanessa Valdes
L.Ac., DPT, OCS.

Dr. Valdes is a Board Certified Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy since 2013. She began her career with a B.Sc. (PT) from the University of Alberta in 1980. After working in a variety of clinical settings in Canada, she immigrated to the USA in 1993 and was employed by Mount Sinai Medical center as a clinical specialist in outpatient orthopaedics where she continues to practice. She obtained a Master’s degree in Acupuncture from the Tristate College of Acupuncture (TSCA) in 1999.

Upon graduation she became a faculty member at that college where she taught point location, orthopaedic evaluation and trigger point classes until 2018. She is a national examiner of the Clean Needle Technique exam, which is a required to become licensed as an acupuncturist in the USA.

She obtained her DPT in 2015 from Arcadia University. As some one dually licensed as a physical therapist and an acupuncturist, she has written about scope of practice issues related to needling treatments.

Canadian Physiotherapy Association

As the vital partner for the profession, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) leads, advocates, and inspires excellence and innovation to promote health. CPA’s goal is to provide exceptional service, valuable information and connections to the profession of physiotherapy, across Canada and around the world.
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