Dry Needling Task Force

May 2019

In May 2017, the Attorney General issued an opinion that dry needling was not in the scope of physical therapy practice. A group of members who disagreed with the finding formed a task force with support from the OPTA Board of Directors to research the issue and provide recommendations to the Board for further action. OPTA reached out to its Government Affairs Committee (GAC) and APTA to engage in conversations about this important practice issue.

Last summer, the Board supported the Dry Needling Task Force recommendation to develop a legislative strategy. The Board asked our lobbyist to develop a work plan that could be used to guide legislative steps to include dry needling in our scope of practice. In August 2018, the Board received a drafted plan that described potential strategies, challenges, action items and the timeline for introducing dry needling legislation as soon as 2020. Shortly after that, the Task Force agreed to implement the first phase of this four-phase plan in close coordination and cooperation with board liaisons and GAC.

Task Force members gathered information from other states that were successful in their efforts to include dry needling and discussed feasibility for similar approaches in Oregon. The Task Force collected minimum competencies for dry needling from several resources across the country to aid in advocating for dry needling as a safe and effective intervention. Task Force members also spoke with the Oregon Physical Therapy Licensing Board and representatives from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy for recommendations.

Phase two of the work plan is a legislative action plan. At the next Board of Directors meeting, there will be discussion and decision-making about whether or not OPTA will pursue developing a legislative concept for including dry needling in our scope of practice.
Any successful legislative effort takes energy, time, commitment, resources, and support. Legislative efforts are expensive and require strong grassroots efforts to change perspectives. Members can show support for this effort with donations to the Oregon PT-PAC and volunteer for political campaigns, attend legislative town halls, and set up meetings with their legislators to discuss the issue.

The Board of Directors and Dry Needling Task Force invites you to become engaged in this conversation by contacting OPTA staff at [email protected]. Members interested in joining the work of the task force should contact Amanda Force.


Dry Needling Task Force is charged with reviewing the topic of dry needling in Oregon and making recommendations to the Board of Directors. Building a grassroots network to advocate for change in the statute to explicitly state that dry needling is within the scope of the physical therapist. Looking for task force members who: are subject matter experts on dry needling, have determination and persistence, and are detail-oriented and persuasive.
Sarah Stuhr, Chair