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Randomized Trial on Comparison of the Efficacy of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy and Dry Needling in Myofascial Trigger Points

Luan, Shuo MD; Zhu, Zhi-min MD; Ruan, Jing-liang MD; Lin, Cai-na MD; Ke, Song-jian MD; Xin, Wen-jun PhD; Liu, Cui-cui MD; Wu, Shao-ling MD, PhD; Ma, Chao MD, PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: August 2019 - Volume 98 - Issue 8 - p 677–684
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001173
Original Research Articles
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Objective The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy and dry needling in the treatment of myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle.

Design A total of 65 patients with myofascial trigger points were randomly divided into extracorporeal shock wave therapy group (n = 32) and dry needling group (n = 33). Patients received 3 wks of treatment at 1-wk intervals (in both groups). Visual analog scale, pressure pain threshold, Neck Disability Index, and shear modulus were evaluated before treatment, immediately after the first therapy, 1 mo, and 3 mos after the completion of the third therapy.

Results Significant improvements of visual analog scale, pressure pain threshold, and Neck Disability Index scores were observed at all time points after treatment (P < 0.01) in both treatment groups. The shear modulus of myofascial trigger points was reduced in both dry needling group (P < 0.05) and extracorporeal shock wave therapy group (P < 0.01) immediately after the first treatment. Significant reductions in shear modulus were maintained up to 3-mo posttreatment in both groups (P < 0.01). There were no significant differences between the radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy group and dry needling group.

Conclusions The extracorporeal shock wave therapy is as effective as dry needling for relieving pain, improving function, and reducing shear modulus for patients with myofascial trigger points after a series of three treatments.

From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China (SL); Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Lianjiang People’s Hospital, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China (ZZ); Department of Rehabilitation, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China (SL, C. Lin, SK, C. Liu, SW, CM); Department of Ultrasonic, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China (JR); and Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China (WX).

All correspondence should be addressed to: Chao Ma, MD, PhD, and Shao-ling Wu, MD, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, No. 107 Yanjiang W Rd, Guangzhou, 510120, China.

Shuo Luan and Zhi-min Zhu contributed equally to this work.

This study was supported by a grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (81771201, 81671088), Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong (2016A030311045), Guangzhou Science and Technology Plan Projects (201807010050), and Sun Yat-Sen Clinical Research Cultivating Program (SYS-C-201704).

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

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Online date: , 2019

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