Effectiveness of dry needling for upper-quarter myofascial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) may cause local and referred pain when compressed and are reported to contribute to deficits in ROM and increased sensitivity to stretch. In trigger-point dry-needling, a thin filiform is used to penetrate the skin and is then inserted into the muscle at a MTrP – when the MTrP is inactivated, the needle is removed.
This systematic review with meta-analysis selected 12 RCTs to investigate the effectiveness of dry needling compared to sham or placebo interventions and other treatments in upper-quarter myofascial pain syndrome in the short term (immediately after treatment) and longer term (4 weeks after treatment). Based on the studies included, dry needling is recommended for immediate pain relief and pain relief after 4 weeks when compared to sham or placebo interventions.
The importance of an observed local twitch response during treatment is highlightened: it is hypothesized that this interrupts motor end-plate noise, leading to an analgesic effect. Moreover, one of the studies included in this review found that, in the absence of a local twitch response, treatment effects of dry needling were only marginal. > From: Kietrys et al, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 43 (2013) 620-634. All rights reserved to the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
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