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Adverse Events Associated with Acupuncture and Dry Needling

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Adverse Events Associated with Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Adverse Events Associated with Acupuncture and Dry Needling

This course includes
56:34 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion
This course was recorded in October 2019


Acupuncture and dry needling are increasingly utilized interventions among physiotherapists in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. As with any other treatment technique, the inherent risks involved with needling treatments 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.  This course will discuss the types, frequency, prevention, and treatment of AE. This will include bleeding and bruising, vasovagal responses, pneumothorax, infections, cardiac tamponade, nerve injuries, broken and forgotten needles and concerns related to pregnancy. 

Discussion of AEs from acupuncture will be based on existing evidence from prospective studies and recent case studies. Symptom recognition and prevention strategies from prominent health care organizations are included to inform safe practice. 


Here's a short video overview of this course: 



Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to identify the common adverse events associated with needling modalities like acupuncture and dry needling.
  • Participants will be able to minimize the risk of trauma or injury related to needling modalities.
  • Participants will have increased confidence in discussing potential risks related to needling interventions with patients.



This online course is for all rehabilitation professionals who may encounter patients treated with acupuncture or dry needling. This can include but is not limited to: physiotherapists, physiotherapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, chiropractors, athletic therapists, exercise therapists.

This course is brought to you by the Acupuncture Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.


What's Included in this Online Healthcare Course?

  • More than 55 minutes of video lessons.
  • Bite-sized information: all of the content is broken down into bite-sized chunks, so that you can easily watch a video on your break, over lunch, or for a few minutes at night.
  • Lifetime access. You can return to this course at any time. If any material is updated or added, you will have access to the new content.
  • Certificate of completion. Once you've completed the course, you will receive a certificate for your professional portfolio.
  • Access to this course is through Embodia, and although some of the content may be downloadable (such as a workbook or slides if included), the majority cannot. This is to protect the instructor’s material and to prevent the content from being shared freely on the Internet.
  • Embodia is mobile-friendly and can be accessed by phone, tablet, and computer.
  • There is no start date or completion date. You can complete the course at your own pace.
  • You will be sent a receipt as soon as you purchase this course. This receipt can be used for education grants and for tax purposes.
  • A Special Coupon for 15% off any other online course on Embodia Academy when you’ve completed this course!


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 patient. Additionally, knowing prevention strategies to minimize the likelihood of adverse events will ensure patient safety remains a top priority. 


Can I Share A Course With A Friend Or Colleague? How Does The Group Discount Work?

Each course purchase is for a single viewer only, and may not be shared. If you are interested in group/staff viewing, please contact us at to arrange a group discount code specifically for your group. The larger the group, the larger the discount. Each individual must purchase separately with the discount code, and agree to the terms and conditions (legal). This provides each participant with their own copy to review at their pace, in addition to the opportunity to interact with colleagues as you all work collectively through the material.

The instructors
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.

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.

Course Material included in this course
  • Mild Adverse Events
  • Bleeding and Bruising
  • Pain
  • Vasovagal Response
  • Quiz
  • Feedback
  • Serious and Severe Adverse Effects
  • Pneumothorax/Haemothorax
  • Infections
  • Cardiac Tamponade
  • Nerve Injuries
  • Pregnancy issues
  • Broken Needles
  • Q&A
  • Quiz
  • Feedback
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