Florida Board Fails to Rule on Dry Needling Question

FCA Governmental Affairs Director Jack Hebert & FCA General Counsel Kim Driggers

St. Augustine – Earlier today the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine failed to address the issue of whether dry needling is within the scope of practice for chiropractic physicians. Board member comments, together with testimony of another chiropractic group opposing the issue, forced the FCA to withdraw its Petition for Declaratory Statement previously filed requesting the Board determine whether dry needling was in fact within a DC’s scope.

The FCA filed its Petition after receiving numerous requests over the last few years on whether DC’s could perform this growing and effective procedure of dry needling. Based upon comments made by prior Board members, it was unclear whether it was considered within scope.  

The FCA asserted that the manual therapy procedure of dry needling is within the scope of practice in Chapter 460, Florida Statutes, and that the history of dry needling, coupled with the statutory construction of Florida’s scope of practices of physical therapists and athletic trainers who can perform dry needling in Florida, and a plain reading of Chapter 460, that it has been within Florida’s scope of practice since 1941 when it was first developed.  

One other chiropractic group, the Florida Chiropractic Physicians Association (FCPA), testified in favor of the FCA’s petition, while representatives of the Florida Chiropractic Society (FCS) stood to express their opposition.

Dry needling is an effective manual therapy treatment modality for myofascial pain syndrome and complex chronic musculoskeletal pain through nerve stimulation using solid filiform needles. By deactivating the trigger points by use of needle stimulation directly into the trigger point, the reported pain relief is noteworthy. However, today’s inaction by the Board means Florida DC’s will still not be able to join physical therapists and athletic trainers who can currently perform dry needling.