Effects of Dry Needling on Biomechanical Properties of the Myofascial Trigger Points Measured by Myotonometry: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2021 Jul-Aug;44(6):467-474. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2021.06.002. Epub 2021 Aug 8.


Objective: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of dry needling (DN) on the biomechanical properties of a latent medial myofascial trigger point (MTrP) of the soleus muscle compared with an adjacent point within the taut band (TB) measured by myotonometry.

Methods: Fifty asymptomatic volunteers were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 26) or control group (n = 24). One session of DN was performed in every group as follows: 10 needle insertions into the MTrP area (intervention group) or TB area (control group). Myotonometric measurements (frequency, decrement, and stiffness) were performed at baseline (pre-intervention) and after the intervention (post-intervention) in both locations (MTrP and TB areas).

Results: The results showed that stiffness outcome significantly decreased with a large effect size after DN in the MTrP when measured in the MTrP location (P = .002; d = 0.928) but not when measured in the TB location. In contrast, no significant changes were observed in any location when the TB was needled (P > .05).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that only DN into the MTrP area was effective in decreasing stiffness outcome, therefore a specific puncture was needed to modify myofascial muscle stiffness.

Keywords: Dry Needling; Muscle Tonus; Trigger Points.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Dry Needling*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes* / therapy
  • Needles
  • Trigger Points