Objective: To determine the effects of inclusion of deep dry needling into a treatment session following the Bobath concept on spasticity, motor function and postural control after a stroke.
Methods: 26 patients who had suffered a stroke were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: Bobath only, or Bobath plus dry needling. Both groups received a session including strengthening, stretching and reconditioning exercises following the principles of the Bobath concept. Patients in the Bobath plus dry needling group also received a single session of ultrasound-guided dry needling of the tibialis posterior. Spasticity (Modified Modified Ashworth Scale), function (Fugl-Meyer Scale) and stability limits (computerised dynamic posturography using the SMART EquiTest System) were collected before and 10 min after treatment by a blinded assessor. The parameters of the stability limits included movement velocity (MVL), maximum excursion (MXE), end-point excursion (EPE) and directional control (DCL).
Results: A greater number of individuals receiving Bobath plus dry needling exhibited a decrease in spasticity after treatment (P<0.001). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) showed that patients receiving Bobath plus dry needling exhibited greater improvements in the balance (0.8, 95% CI 0.2 to 1.4), sensory (1.7, 95% CI 0.7 to 2.7) and range of motion (3.2, 95% CI 2.0 to 4.4) domains of the Fugl-Meyer Scale than those receiving Bobath only. ANCOVA also found that subjects receiving dry needling showed a greater increase in MVL non-affected forward direction, EPE non-affected direction, MXE backward and MXE affected/non-affected, DCL backward and DCL affected backward direction, than those who did not receive it.
Conclusions: The inclusion of deep dry needling into a treatment session following the Bobath concept was effective at decreasing spasticity and improving balance, range of motion and the accuracy of maintaining stability in patients who had experienced a stroke.
Trial registration number: NCT02579291.
Keywords: acupuncture; stroke.
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