A Case-Series of Dry Needling as an Immediate Sensory Integration Intervention

J Man Manip Ther. 2022 Jun;30(3):165-171. doi: 10.1080/10669817.2021.2011556. Epub 2021 Dec 13.


Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) has been associated with altered cortical mapping in the primary somatosensory cortex. Various sensory discrimination treatments have been explored to positively influence CLBP by targeting cortical maps.

Objectives: To determine if dry needling (DN) applied to patients with CLBP would yield changes in two-point discrimination (TPD) and left-right judgment (LRJ) tasks for the low back. Secondary measurements of pain and limited range of motion (ROM) was also assessed.

Methods: A sample of 15 patients with CLBP were treated with DN to their low back. Prior to and immediately after DN, TPD, LRJ tasks, low back pain, spinal ROM, and straight leg raise (SLR) were measured.

Results: Following DN, there was a significant (p < 0.005) improvement in LRJ for low back images in all measures, except accuracy for the right side. TPD significantly improved at the L3 segment with a moderate effect size. A significant improvement was found for pain and trunk ROM after DN with a large effect in changing pain of 3.33 points and improving SLR by 9.0 degrees on average, which exceeds the minimal detectable change of 5.7 degrees.

Conclusions: This is the first study to explore if DN alters TPD and LRJ tasks in patients with CLBP. Results show an immediate significant positive change in TPD and LRJ tasks, as well as pain ratings and movement.

Keywords: Dry needling; chronic pain; low back pain; sensory integration.

MeSH terms

  • Dry Needling*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Movement
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations*

Grants and funding

The author(s) reported that there is no funding associated with the work featured in this article.