Treatment of individuals with chronic bicipital tendinopathy using dry needling, eccentric-concentric exercise and stretching; a case series

Physiother Theory Pract. 2020 Mar;36(3):397-407. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2018.1488023. Epub 2018 Jun 22.


Objectives: To describe the outcomes of 10 patients with chronic biceps tendinopathy treated by physical therapy with the novel approach of dry needling (DN), eccentric-concentric exercise (ECE), and stretching of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT). Methods: Ten individuals reporting chronic anterior shoulder symptoms (> 3 months), pain with palpation of the LHBT, and positive results on a combination of tests including active shoulder flexion, Speed's, Hawkins Kennedy, Neer, and Yergason's tests participated in this case series. Validated self-reported outcome measures including the mean numeric pain rating scale (NPRS) and Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH) were taken at baseline. Participants were treated with two to eight sessions of DN to the LHBT and an ECE program and stretching of the biceps muscle. At discharge, patients completed the global rating of change (GROC), QuickDASH and NPRS. Results: Patients had an improved mean NPRS of 3.9 (SD, 1.3; p < 0.001), QuickDASH of 19.01% (SD, 10.8; p < 0.02) and GROC +5.4 (SD, 1.3). Conclusion: Findings from this case series suggest that DN and ECE may be beneficial for the management of patients with chronic LHBT tendinopathy. Further research on the efficacy of this novel treatment approach is warranted.

Keywords: Dry needling; biceps tendinopathy; eccentric exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Dry Needling*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Shoulder Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Tendinopathy / rehabilitation*