Effects of Dry Needling Technique Into Trigger Points of the Sternocleidomastoid Muscle in Migraine Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2020 Dec;99(12):1129-1137. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001504.


Objective: The study aimed to investigate the effect of dry needling into trigger points of the sternocleidomastoid muscle in migraine headache patients.

Design: Forty subjects with a migraine headache, originating from myofacial trigger points into the sternocleidomastoid muscle (20 subjects in dry needling group and 20 subjects in control group) volunteered to participate in this study. The subjects in the treatment group received three sessions of dry needling in the myofascial trigger point region. Headache frequency, headache intensity, headache duration, drug consumption, muscle thickness, pressure pain threshold, and cervical range of motion were assessed before, immediately after intervention, and at 1-mo follow-up period. In addition, this article was extracted from Iranian Register of Clinical Trials Number IRCT20171219037956N1.

Results: The experimental group showed significant reduction in the headache parameters immediately after the intervention and at 1-mo follow-up, as compared with the control group. The pressure pain threshold of sternocleidomastoid muscle, cervical range of motion, and muscle thickness significantly increased in the dry needling group in comparison with the control group (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The application of dry needling technique caused an improvement in symptoms of migraine patients. Therefore, this technique may be prescribed for treating migraine patients with myofacial trigger points in the sternocleidomastoid muscle.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dry Needling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Neck Muscles*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trigger Points*

Associated data

  • IRCT/IRCT20171219037956N1