Background: Abdominal wall pain is considered as pain that arises from the abdominal muscles rather than the underlying viscera or the spine. It is frequently overlooked and is often misdiagnosed, as these patients continue to suffer with pain. Many such patients would have even been subjected to a psychiatric evaluation in view of the absence of any ostensible clinical cause for the pain. In this study, we describe the role of myofascial trigger points in the abdominal wall pain that could be a cause of chronic pain and present our findings of pain relief by dry needling technique.
Objectives: To report the effect of dry needling treatment for patients who suffer from chronic abdominal wall pain of uncertain etiology and in whom specific myofascial trigger points were identified.
Methods: Twelve patients diagnosed with chronic abdominal wall pain were included in the study. All patients were clinically evaluated and subjected to a combination of imaging techniques. Once categorized as patients suffering from chronic abdominal wall pain, they were subjected to a thorough palpation of the abdominal wall to identify the presence of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) over the abdominal muscles. All had MTrPs over one or more abdominal muscles either unilaterally or bilaterally. Dry Needling using a standard technique was done based on the side and localization of the myofascial trigger points. Numerical pain rating scale (NPRS) was used to measure pain before and after treatment and at the end of four months. All patients were then seen by the primary clinician and re-evaluated.
Results: Eleven out of twelve patients had significant reduction with a mean difference 5.95 in NPRS in their pain levels at four months follow up. Seven patients had complete resolution of the pain. Some patients had improvement in complaints such as Dysmenorrhea, Urinary Frequency and constipation.
Conclusion: Dry Needling can be a useful adjunct in treating chronic abdominal wall pain especially in those patients in whom Myofascial Trigger Points in the muscles of abdomen are identified by palpation.
Level of evidence: Level 4.
Keywords: Abdominal wall pain; Dry needling; Dysmenorrhea; Myofascial trigger points.
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