Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Laura Richardson

First Reader

Stephanie Davis-Dieringer

Second Reader

Melissa Smith


This research paper analyzes how the field of Physical Therapy has grown and evolved in the United States over the last sixty years. It also explores the education process of becoming a therapist, the responsibilities it entails, and the different treatment interventions therapist can use by taking a deeper look at the integration of dry needling techniques into the field of Physical Therapy.

Dry needling is defined and different techniques being utilized in the field currently are explained. Also discussed are locations where physical therapists are legally allowed to perform dry needling in the United States, the certification process, precautions to consider when deciding if dry needling is a viable treatment option, different demographics that benefit from dry needling, and overall effectiveness of dry needling. Observations from field research conducting a case study evaluating dry needling in a physical therapy clinic have also been included to show how it is being used today.