Effects of dry needling on pain, disability, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophizing and psychological distress in patients with chronic neck pain: A randomized controlled pilot study

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2022;35(2):393-401. doi: 10.3233/BMR-200322.

Abstract

Background: Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in neck muscles seem to be related to the main symptoms of patients with chronic neck pain.

Objective: The objective was to investigate the effects of dry needling (DN) on pain, disability, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophizing and psychological distress in patients with chronic neck pain.

Methods: A double blind randomized controlled pilot trial was designed. Twenty-one patients with chronic neck pain were randomly allocated to the DN group (n= 7), Sham-DN group (n= 7) or Control group (n= 7). All groups received a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and Therapeutic Ultrasound (TENS/US) protocol with patient education. The DN and Sham-DN groups received two sessions of DN and sham DN, respectively. The primary outcome was pain intensity. Secondary outcomes were disability, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophizing, psychological distress, self-reported improvement and success of blinding.

Results: The DN group showed a greater decrease in pain intensity, disability and pain catastrophizing compared to the Sham-DN group (p< 0.05) and the Control group (p< 0.05). The DN group showed the highest self-reported improvement.

Conclusion: Adding two sessions of DN in active MTrPs in upper trapezius, levator scapulae and sternocleidomastoid muscles to a TENS/US protocol with patient education decreased pain intensity, disability and pain catastrophizing in patients with chronic neck pain.

Keywords: Neck pain; chronic pain; disability; dry needling; myofascial trigger points.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Catastrophization
  • Chronic Pain* / therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dry Needling*
  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes* / therapy
  • Neck Pain / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychological Distress*
  • Trigger Points