Clinical Effectiveness of Dry Needling Immediately After Application on Myofascial Trigger Point in Upper Trapezius Muscle

J Chiropr Med. 2016 Dec;15(4):252-258. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2016.08.009. Epub 2016 Oct 21.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of dry needling (DN) on pain intensity and pressure pain threshold (PPT) compared with ischemic compression (IC) immediately and 48 hours after each treatment session in individuals with myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle.

Methods: Thirty-one patients with myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle participated in this study. Patients were randomly assigned to a standard (N = 17) or experimental group (N = 14). The treatment protocol for the standard group consisted of IC, whereas the patients in the experimental group received DN.

Results: The results indicated that the effect size of the DN methods for pain intensity and PPT was considerably greater after 2 days compared with immediately after the treatment session. In contrast, the effect of the IC for PPT was greater immediately after treatment compared with the measures after 2 days. There was also no noticeable difference in the effect size for IC on pain intensity between the scores obtained immediately and 2 days after treatment. However, our data also revealed a greater effect size for DN on PPT after 2 days compared with the IC technique.

Conclusions: In this study, DN improved the pain intensity and PPT after 2 days. However, it had no clinical improvement immediately after application because of muscle soreness. Thus, assessment of the effect of DN immediately after application can be criticized, and the results should be interpreted with caution.

Keywords: Dry Needling; Ischemic Compression; Trigger Point; Upper Trapezius.