Background: Trigger point dry needling (TDN) is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal pain related to myofascial trigger points (MTrPs). To date, no systematic review of high-quality randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating TDN to multiple body regions exists.
Purpose: The aim of this review is to determine the effectiveness of TDN based on high-quality RCTs for all body regions.
Methods: To ensure thorough reporting, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed as the methodological basis for this systematic review. PubMed, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), Cinahl, Cochrane and reference lists were searched for the years 2000-2014 and the terms 'TDN', 'dry needling NOT trigger point', 'functional dry needling' and 'intramuscular manual therapy'.
Inclusion criteria: RCTs with PEDro scores 6-10 investigating TDN.
Exclusion criteria: duplicates, non-human participants, non-English language, exclusive focus on acupuncture or medicinal injections. Three investigators searched databases, applied criteria, read and assigned PEDro scores to every RCT. Nineteen studies met the criteria. As compared to either baseline or control groups, significant differences were found for pain (14 studies), range of motion (ROM) (five studies) and at least one item on function and quality of life measures (six studies).
Limitations: This review was limited by inclusion criteria, timeframe, language and databases searched.
Conclusion: The majority of high-quality studies included in this review show measured benefit from TDN for MTrPs in multiple body areas, suggesting broad applicability of TDN treatment for multiple muscle groups. Further high-quality research is warranted to standardise TDN methods to determine clinical applicability.
Keywords: Myofascial pain syndrome; Systematic review; Trigger point dry needling.
Effectiveness of dry needling and injections of myofascial trigger points associated with plantar heel pain: a systematic review.J Foot Ankle Res. 2010 Sep 1;3:18. doi: 10.1186/1757-1146-3-18. J Foot Ankle Res. 2010. PMID: 20807448 Free PMC article.
DRY NEEDLING IN SUBJECTS WITH MUSCULAR TRIGGER POINTS IN THE LOWER QUARTER: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW.Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Feb;11(1):1-14. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016. PMID: 26900495 Free PMC article.
The effect of dry needling for myofascial trigger points in the neck and shoulders: a systematic review and meta-analysis.J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Jul;18(3):390-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.11.009. Epub 2013 Nov 9. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014. PMID: 25042309 Review.
A systematic review of manual therapy techniques, dry cupping and dry needling in the reduction of myofascial pain and myofascial trigger points.J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019 Jul;23(3):539-546. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2019.04.001. Epub 2019 Apr 4. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019. PMID: 31563367
Effectiveness of dry needling for upper-quarter myofascial pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Sep;43(9):620-34. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2013.4668. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013. PMID: 23756457 Review.
Cited by 8 articles
State of the art: What have the pain sciences brought to physiotherapy?S Afr J Physiother. 2020 Feb 24;76(1):1390. doi: 10.4102/sajp.v76i1.1390. eCollection 2020. S Afr J Physiother. 2020. PMID: 32161828 Free PMC article.
DRY NEEDLING IN THE MANAGEMENT OF PATIENTS MEETING CLINICAL DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR SUBACROMIAL PAIN SYNDROME: A CASE SERIES.Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2019 Jul;14(4):637-654. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2019. PMID: 31440414 Free PMC article.
Dry needling versus trigger point compression of the upper trapezius: a randomized clinical trial with two-week and three-month follow-up.J Man Manip Ther. 2019 Jul;27(3):152-161. doi: 10.1080/10669817.2018.1530421. Epub 2018 Oct 15. J Man Manip Ther. 2019. PMID: 30935341
Dry needling in addition to standard physical therapy treatment for sub-acromial pain syndrome: a randomized controlled trial protocol.Braz J Phys Ther. 2019 Jul-Aug;23(4):355-363. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.10.010. Epub 2018 Nov 6. Braz J Phys Ther. 2019. PMID: 30455091 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.
DRY NEEDLING INCREASES MUSCLE THICKNESS IN A SUBJECT WITH PERSISTENT MUSCLE DYSFUNCTION: A CASE REPORT.Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017 Jun;12(3):468-475. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017. PMID: 28593101 Free PMC article.