Background and objectives: To test the hypothesis that dry needling is more effective than sham dry needling in relieving myofascial pain of the temporomandibular muscles.
Material and method: Fifty-two subjects with established myofascial trigger points were randomized into two groups; study group (N: 26) and placebo group (N: 26). Dry needling was applied using acupuncture needles. Sham dry needling was applied to the placebo group. Pain pressure threshold was measured with pressure algometry, pain intensity was rated using a 10-cm visual analog scale (VAS) and the unassisted jaw opening without pain measurement was performed. Evaluations were done by a physician blinded to the data.
Results: Of 52 patients assigned, 50 completed the study. Mean algometric values were significantly higher in the study group when compared to the placebo group (p values being less than 0.05). There were no differences between the two groups in terms of VAS and unassisted jaw-opening without pain values.
Conclusion: Dry needling appears to be an effective treatment method in relieving the pain and tenderness of myofascial trigger points.