Dry Needling Gone Wrong – Medical Negligence Claims Guide

By Marlon Rudy. Last Updated 10th August 2022. Within this online guide, we will take a look at what dry needling is and how you may be able to make a compensation claim for dry needling gone wrong if you are injured by this form of therapy.

We will cover why you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim, and how a clinical negligence solicitor can help you in a similar fashion to a personal injury solicitor helping you claim for an accident or injury.

Every claim is based on its unique set of circumstances. Therefore, it is impossible to cover every potential question you might have in a single guide. We have covered all of the basics, but if you are left with additional questions our team can assist you.

You can contact them on 0800 652 3087.

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A Guide On Dry Needling Gone Wrong Injury Claims

In this online guide, we are going to answer questions such as:

  • What can go wrong with dry needling? 
  • Can dry needling cause infection? 
  • And can dry needling cause pneumothorax?
  • Can dry needling hit a nerve?
  • What does dry needling do to muscles? 

We will attempt to show that in a certain set of circumstances, you could be in a position to seek compensation for the harm suffered.

We begin this guide by looking at what dry needling is. This includes how the technique is performed, and whether the therapist needs to be professionally qualified. We will look at the potential benefits of dry needling as well.Dry needling gone wrong negligence compensation claims

Next, we move on to take a look at the major danger of dry needling, which is a collapsed lung. We will also take a look at a few of the less severe and potentially harmful effects of the therapy.

The final sections of this guide are given over to legal and financial circumstances of pursuing a claim. We explain the time limits that will apply to your claim. We have also provided you with an example compensation table, showing possible compensation ranges for different severities of injury.

Lastly, we have provided a basic overview of what a No Win No Fee claims is and the key benefits of engaging a solicitor under this kind of fee agreement. If you are left with additional questions or simply need to talk over your claim with an expert, please get in touch with our team on the number in the final section of this guide. They will address all of your questions for you and explain how a medical negligence lawyer can assist you in getting any compensation you are eligible for.

What Is Dry Needling And What Should I Expect During Treatment?

Before we go further, we need to explain what dry needling treatment is, how it is applied and what the general effects are. 

Dry needling is quite a new treatment, that is similar to acupuncture in many ways. The procedure should be safe, although slightly uncomfortable. It is used to treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions that have proven to respond well to the treatment in the past. A thin wire or needle of monofilament is pushed through the skin to treat the muscles below, specifically targeting the trigger points that can affect both muscle movement and pain.

A trigger point is a band of muscle fibre that, if triggered, can begin restricting movement and cause pain. Treating such a trigger point with dry needling can help to improve blood flow and reduce pain.

Dry needling is seldom used on its own, but as a single therapy within a broader therapy plan. Many places in the body can be treated using dry needling including the neck, hip, back, shoulder and heel. Dry needling should be safe. But mistakes can be made, of course, and this could end in the patient being able to seek compensation for the medical negligence that caused them harm. If you feel that this would apply to you, please get in touch with our expert team to discuss a possible claim.

Dry Needling Techniques

When a muscle is overused or overstressed, there can be an energy shortage in the muscle group. The muscle fibres will not be recovering enough oxygen due to limited blood flow. This prevents the muscle from relaxing fully.

The trigger point and the tissue surrounding it contains more acid content, leading the nerves being more sensitive and ultimately resulting in pain. When dry needling is used to stimulate the trigger point it promotes better blood flow and releases the pent-up tension in the muscle. Alongside this, the sensation of the needle entering the skin can trigger a release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer.

As with any intrusive treatment, there is a risk of unwanted harm to the patient. If that risk develops into actual harm, we can help you to get the compensation you may be eligible for. If you speak to any of our advisors, they can assist you further.

Who Can Perform Dry Needling?

Dry needling can be performed by anyone who is trained in administering it safely. This does not necessarily need to be a registered medical professional such as a physiotherapist. For example, a sports injury therapist may perform dry needling as part of a treatment regime for an injury they are helping a sportsperson overcome.

When dry needling is carried out by a medical professional, any harm that is caused to the patient could be classed as clinical negligence. In this situation, a compensation claim could be possible. For more advice on how to proceed with such a claim, please get in touch with our team today.

How Is Dry Needling Regulated In The UK?

According to the Chartered Society of Physical Therapy, it is advisable that practitioners of dry needling conform with the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency for Physiotherapists. However, this is not a legal obligation. With regards to actual regulation in the UK, general regulations relating to the quality of service in the medical care sector would apply.

Put simply, anyone carrying out dry needling has a legal obligation not to cause any unnecessary harm to a patient that they are treating. If they do, they could be guilty of medical negligence and the injured party could make a claim. 

Talk with an expert advisor for additional information on regulations related to medical professionals.

Is Dry Needling Beneficial?

Yes, in certain circumstances dry needling can be beneficial. If applicable, dry needling offers an alternative to surgery for some injuries. Furthermore, it is a form of pain management that does not rely on medication.

However, it should be noted that some medical professionals are still sceptical over the benefits of this treatment. Whilst a lot of data suggests that dry needling does work as described, other sources state that it has little to no benefit in the long-term.

Either way, a poorly performed therapy could end in injury to the patient. And in such cases, we could help the victim get the compensation they are eligible for. Talk with an expert advisor to learn more about this.

Dry Needling-Induced Pneumothorax

According to the British Lung Foundation, a collapsed lung, also known as pneumothorax, can be caused when air gets into the cavity between the rib cage and the lung, which compresses the lung, causing it to collapse.

Therefore, if a therapist makes a mistake, a dry needling-induced pneumothorax could be the result. The therapist is expected to ensure that they look for the signs of pneumothorax from dry needling at all times while a patent is undergoing therapy. If they do not, and the condition becomes bad enough to collapse a lung, the patient could be in a position to make a claim. 

We can offer you some good advice on how to do this if you talk with an expert advisor.

Other Harmful Side Effects Of Dry Needling

We have already covered what a collapsed lung is—how a hole in the pleural cavity can let air in and result in lung collapse. However, there are other harmful effects. For example, a punctured lung. This would occur if the therapist pushed the monofilament fibre too far into the chest. 

It is worth noting that a collapsed lung is not a very common side effect of this kind of treatment. However, this does not mean that dry needling cannot cause a collapsed lung. It is just that it is unlikely.

Overall though, there are very few serious side effects or risks to this therapy, which is one reason why a doctor may wish to try it as a treatment for a patient before moving on to look at surgical or medicinal solutions to a problem.

Mild Side Effects

What are the side effects of dry needling? Although in general, dry needling is a therapy with very few risks attached, this does not mean it is entirely safe at all times. There are a number of possible minor side effects, such as:

  • Being sore and suffering pain after dry needling.
  • Bleeding from the place the treatment was administered.
  • Becoming faint during the treatment.
  • Being fatigued after the treatment.
  • Suffering bruising of the area treated.

Most of these are quite minor in nature. And of course, there are always symptoms that could be seen as being outliers that are only manifested in very few patients. Any patient who is harmed by a medical professional unnecessarily could be in a position to make a compensation claim. You can speak to our team to find out whether you might have a valid case or not.

Serious Side Effects

Dry needling can result in some quite severe effects, apart from a collapsed or punctured lung, such as:

  • Chronic pain.
  • Sweating profusely.
  • Nausea and sickness.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance.
  • Irritated skin.
  • A seizure.
  • Speech being slurred.

If you were to suffer serious side effects like this due to some form of medical negligence, we can advise you on how you could be able to seek compensation. Talk with an expert claim advisor to get started with this.

Time Limits To Claim Compensation For Dry Needling Gone Wrong

Just as there is a personal injury claims time limit that you would need to begin an accident or injury claim within, there is also one that applies to medical negligence claims. And this is:

  • For those aged 18 or over, you have just 3 years from the date of the incident to make a claim. 
  • In some cases, it could be possible to argue that the 3-year period did not begin to run until you gained knowledge of the harm suffered.
  • For people under the age of 18, they’re granted 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday, unless a litigation friend makes the claim on their behalf before that time.  

In some very rare cases, this time limit can differ. Please talk with one of our advisors to find out if this could be the case for you.

Calculating What You Could Claim For Dry Needling Gone Wrong

This table below is created to reflect the guidelines that are published by the Judicial College. There are two caveats here. Firstly, the figures are based on a personal injury claim and a medical negligence claim might attract a different level of damages. 

Secondly, we have only included a single type of injury (chest), to demonstrate how the compensation won will scale on the severity of the injury. Call our team to get a rough estimate of how much you might receive if you wish to make a claim for a specific injury.

Type of InjurySeverity of InjuryImportant InformationCompensation
ChestAThe most severe example of a chest injury, one that could end in the loss of a lung and other chest injuries. The heart might be damaged, and the victim would be in severe pain, with their life being at risk. Scarring would be very visible if the victim recovers.£100,670 to £150,110
ChestBA traumatic chest injury that is not considered severe enough to be life-threatening. Either one of the lungs or both of them might have been damaged, as well as the heart. The victim’s life would be impaired in the future in some way.£65,740 to £100,670
ChestCA critical lung injury that would have ongoing, potentially permanent symptoms that will negatively affect the life of the victim.£31,310 to £54,830
ChestDA fairly minor wound, such as a needlestick or puncture wound. The lung would be damaged but eventually it would heal fully with no form of impairment.£12,590 to £17,960
ChestEInjuries caused by the inhalation of smoke, toxic fumes or chemical atomisation. The victim would eventually recover most of their lung function, but there is likely going to be some loss of lung capacity.£5,320 to £12,590
ChestFA single, or both lungs collapse. Recovery would be complete and would occur across the short-term.£2,190 to £5,320

ChestGAll minor chest injuries such as burns, grazes, lacerations, cutes, etc. All of these injuries would heal completely, leaving only trivial scarring.Up to £3,950

You might be able to use some kind of medical negligence claims calculator to get an initial estimate of the amount of compensation you could be able to claim. However, they can produce misleading results. For a more accurate indication of the level of compensation you might receive if your claim is a success, please speak to a member of our team today.

Claiming Damages for Medical Negligence

If you win your claim, the settlement you receive will be made up of potentially several different types of damages. General damages are awarded to the victim to make up for the physical harm they have suffered, with the amount driven by the pain and suffering the victim went through, the effect on their life quality, and the long-term impact of the injuries. General damages also account for:

  • General pain and suffering.
  • Traumatic medical treatment.
  • Long-term recuperation.
  • Psychological damage.
  • Permanent disabilities.

Special damages are awarded to the victim to make up for losses, including financial losses, that are non-physical in nature. Documentary proof must be supplied if claiming for money already spent. Special damages might cover:

  • Lowered earning potential.
  • Loss of wages/salary.
  • Medical fees.
  • Care costs.
  • Travel costs.

If you would like to find out the kind of damages that you could be able to claim based on your own circumstances, one of our advisors can help you. Give them a call on the number at the top or bottom of the page, explain your situation, and they will evaluate your claim for you.

No Win No Fee Solicitors For Medical Negligence – Choosing The Best Solicitors For Your Case

It’s possible to find No Win No Fee solicitors for medical negligence claims. No Win No Fee is a financial arrangement that could see you hire a solicitor for your medical claim without having to initially pay them for their services.

Your solicitor will represent you and manage your claim, on the agreement that their payment comes from the compensation you are awarded in a successful claim.

If your claim is successful, they will take a success fee. This is an amount taken from your awarded compensation. It comes as a percentage and will have a legal cap in place.

If your claim does not succeed, you would not have to pay this fee, nor would you have to pay for your solicitors work during your claim.

If you are interested in working with such a solicitor please reach out to one of our advisers. They can explain how we have handled claims in the UK for medical negligence in the past, and potentially put you through to a solicitor today.

How Medical Negligence Assist Could Help

Do you believe that a medical negligence solicitor could help you to get compensation for the harm you suffered? Or perhaps you simply want some reliable and free legal advice before deciding whether you could make a claim or not?

Whatever assistance you need, you can get it from our team. Get in touch by:

One of our team of expert advisors will talk through your situation with you and offer you some free advice on how best to proceed.

Supporting References

Thank you for reading our guide on medical negligence claims relating to dry needling gone wrong. Below you can find some more useful resources:

NHS Information About Dry Needling And Blood Infections

Chartered Society Of Physiotherapy Information About Dry Needling And Punctured Lungs

National Institute For Health And Care Excellence Result For Dry Needling

Below, you can find links to all of our medical negligence claims guides:


Guide by Mac

Edited by Richie