Acute effects of functional dry needling on skeletal muscle function

Austin C. Mead, Mark L. McGlynn, Dustin R. Slivka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Functional dry needling (FDN) is commonly used to treat soft tissue pain-related conditions. Previous research has demonstrated benefits to chronic resistance training; however, objective physiological measures sensitive to acute exercise have not been found. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the acute effects of FDN on muscle strength and endurance. Methods: Ten subjects (height 168 ± 9 cm, mass 68.2 ± 11.3 kg) were tested bilaterally (pre and post) for vastus lateralis (VL) isometric strength, isokinetic fatigue index, muscle electrical activity, and muscle oxygenation. FDN was administered to one leg, while the other served as a control. Results: Limited acute effects of functional dry needling were observed (p < 0.05). Discussion: FDN does not appear to acutely improve muscle function in healthy young adults. Although there were no improvements in muscle function, there were no adverse effects either, contributing to the safety of FDN healthy populations. Conclusion: Acute FDN does not appear to enhance muscle performance in a healthy, non-clinical population. Thus, clinicians should consider the population and desired outcome when applying FDN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
StatePublished - Apr 2021


The authors would like to thank Scott Keenan, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS for performing the FDN. Funding was provided by the University of Nebraska Graduate Research and Creative Activity Grant (GRACA) .

FundersFunder number
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


    • Dry needling
    • Electromyography
    • Isokinetic
    • Isometric
    • Muscle fatigue
    • Muscle oxygenation


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