Randomized, double-blind study comparing percutaneous electrolysis and dry needling for the management of temporomandibular myofascial pain

Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2018 Jul 1;23(4):e454-e462. doi: 10.4317/medoral.22488.


Background: To assess whether the techniques of percutaneous needle electrolysis (PNE) and deep dry needling (DDN) used on trigger points (TrP) of lateral pterygoid muscle (LPM) can significantly reduce pain and improve function in patients with myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) compared to a control group treated with a sham needling procedure (SNP).

Material and methods: Sixty patients diagnosed with MPS in the LPM were selected and randomly assigned to one of three groups. The PNE group received electrolysis to the LPM via transcutaneous puncture. The DDN group received a deep puncture to the TrP without the introduction of any substance. In the SNP group, pressure was applied to the skin without penetration. Procedures were performed once per week for 3 consecutive weeks. Clinical evaluation was performed before treatment, and on days 28, 42 and 70 after treatment.

Results: Statistically significant differences (p <0.01) were measured for the PNE and DDN groups with respect to pain reduction at rest, during chewing, and for maximum interincisal opening (MIO). Values for the PNE group showed significantly earlier improvement. Differences for PNE and DDN groups with respect to SNP group were significant (p <0.05) up to day 70. Evaluation of efficacy as reported by the patient and observer was better for PNE and DDN groups. No adverse events were observed for either of the techniques.

Conclusions: PNE and DDN of the LPM showed greater pain reduction efficacy and improved MIO compared to SNP. Improvement was noted earlier in the PNE group than in the DDN group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy* / methods
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Electrolysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / therapy*
  • Needles
  • Pterygoid Muscles
  • Spain
  • Trigger Points
  • Young Adult