Effects of dry needling plus exercise therapy on post-stroke spasticity and motor function: A case report

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2022 Feb;46:101520. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101520. Epub 2021 Dec 2.


Background and purpose: The use of dry needling (DN) with other treatments may be more beneficial in managing post-stroke spasticity. We report the effects of DN plus exercise therapy (ET) on wrist flexor spasticity.

Patient presentation: The patient was a 45-year-old man with an 8-year history of stroke. The outcome measures included the Modified Modified Ashworth Scale (MMAS), Hmax/Mmax ratio, H-reflex latency, Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), and range of motion (ROM) which were assessed before (T1), after (T2), and after 3-week follow-up (T3).

Conclusion: The MMAS was improved at T2 from "3" to "2". The Hmax/Mmax decreased from 0.77 to 0.53 at T3. The H-reflex latency increased from 15.4 ms to 18.5 ms at T3. The wrist active and passive ROM increased ∼30° and ∼20° at T2, respectively. A 4-session DN plus ET may improve spasticity and ROM. No meaningful improvement was observed in function.

Keywords: Dry needling; Exercise therapy; Motor function; Motor neuron excitability; Spasticity; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Dry Needling*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / therapy
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Stroke* / complications
  • Stroke* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome