Dry needling or manual pressure in myofascial pain?
Up until today, the pathophysiology of myofascial triggerpoints (MTrP) is poorly understood. Symptoms associated with MTrPs are referred pain, muscle weakness and restriction in range of motion. Myofascial pain can by diagnosed by the presence of multiple MrTPs using palpation. The most used treatment techniques are dry needling (DN) or manual pressure techniques (MPT).
This study compared these treatment techniques to one another using the Neck Disability Index (NDI), a numeric rating scale (NRS), pressure pain threshold and muscle characteristics. 42 female patients with myofascial neck pain were randomly assigned to a treatment group and the 4 most painful MTrPs were treated using DN or MPT. No difference was found between the two techniques on the short and long term. Both techniques showed an improvement in NDI on the short and long term.
Even though this study shows an improvement in pain using both techniques, other studes show different results regarding the NRS, however these studies only measured the short term effects.
DN and MTP seem effective treatment techniques for MrTPs, but the working mechanism remains unknown. One explanation could be an increase in blood flow and a reduction in nociceptive substances, however further research is necessary to determine this.
> From: Meulemeester et al., J Manipulative Physiol Ther 40 (2017) 11-20(Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to National University of Health Sciences. Click here for the online summary.