Background: Disk herniation is the most common cause of radiating low back pain (LBP) in subjects under 60 years of age. The present study aims to compare the effect of dry needling (DN) and a standard conservative approach on the pain and function in subjects with discogenic radiating LBP.
Materials and methods: Fifty-eight subjects with discogenic radicular LBP were screened and randomized into control (Standard physical therapy, n = 29) and experimental group (Standard physical therapy and DN, n = 29). Radiating pain intensity and disability were measured using visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability indices at baseline, at the end of treatment and 2 months after the last intervention session. The changes in pain intensity and disability were studied using a 3 × 2 repeated measures analysis of variance considering time as the within-subject factor and group as the between-subject.
Results: Pain intensity and disability scores decreased significantly in both experimental and control groups (experimental group: VAS = 37.24, Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] =28.48, control group: VAS = 45.5, ODI = 32.96), following the intervention. The change continued during the follow-up period (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Pain and disability improvement, however, were more significant in experimental group, both in post intervention (experimental group: VAS = 25.17, ODI = 22.17, control group: VAS = 42.4, ODI = 30.27) (P = 0.05 and P = 0.03, respectively) and follow-up measures (P = 0.006 and P = 0.002, respectively).
Conclusion: Both intervention strategies seem to significantly improve pain and disability immediately following intervention, where the improvement continued during 2 months after the last active intervention. Therefore, supplementary DN application may enhance the effect of the standard intervention considerably.
Keywords: Discogenic; dry needling; low back pain.