Ultrasound-guided dry needling decreases pain in patients with piriformis syndrome

Muscle Nerve. 2019 Nov;60(5):558-565. doi: 10.1002/mus.26671. Epub 2019 Aug 27.


Introduction: Piriformis muscle syndrome (PMS) is a disorder that can lead to symptoms of buttock pain and limited hip-joint mobility, and may have an impact on quality of life.

Methods: Thirty-two patients with PMS were randomized to the treatment group, which included three sessions of ultrasound-guided dry needling (DN) of the piriformis muscle (n = 16), or a waitlist control group (n = 16). The primary outcome was pain intensity measured on the visual analog scale recorded at baseline and then at 72 hours and 1 week after treatment.

Results: At 1-week follow-up, pain intensity was significantly less in the DN group than in the waitlist control group (-2.16 [-1.01 to -3.32], P = .007) by an amount consistent with clinically meaningful improvement.

Discussion: The findings suggest that DN resulted in clinically meaningful short-term improvement in pain intensity of patients with PMS.

Keywords: disability; needles; pain; piriformis muscle syndrome; pressure pain threshold; ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dry Needling / methods*
  • Female
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Piriformis Muscle Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Piriformis Muscle Syndrome / therapy*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult