Don't do this ... please

Cliches, but powerful...

A picture tells a thousand words.

Seeing is believing, which in this case is very concerning.

One of the most common areas in which I am asked to provide a professional opinion is in regards to needling and pneumothorax or haemopneumothorax. The cause is poor or no technique and is usually due to a lack of specific training. If you learned manipulation of the thoracic spine, you would not then assume you have the skills to manipulate the cervical spine. Different anatomy, Different precautions. Different dangers. In much the same way practitioners, that have learned to needle supraspinatus are not qualified to move an extra couple of centimetres to needle upper trapezius or levator scapulae.

Now, if this picture had occurred in just about any other publication and not the APA's 'flagship' publication (InMotion: page 39 December 2016 edition), I wouldn't rate the effort of a comment. However, with it going out to 24,000 + professionals and other medical colleagues, I certainly don't want those professionals to think that just because it was published by the APA, it is should be taken as the truth. Far from it. A vertical insertion of a needle/pin, dry or wet is simply very poor technique and asking for trouble. Would you cross the road with your eyes closed? The same answer goes for the technique being condoned in this picture. Don't do it. Never.

Fast forward five years and in the Acupuncture & Dry Needling News sent out by the APA, they have done it again. My concern is that with such high profile publications 'promoting' such techniques visually, a non-trained person who may have done some basic dry needling training might consider this as an acceptable technique. As I mentioned above, it is needling this area and using a vertical type technique such as imaged in both pictures, that is resulting in pneumo and haemothorax.

If you are in contact with APA members and they do dry needling, please open up a conversation with them and ensure that they are not led to believe that the techniques described here visually, are the correct way to dry needle upper trapezius.

Thanks for keeping our clients safe.