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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: March 1, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001173
Research Article: PDF Only

Objectives To compare the efficacy of radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) and dry needling (DN) in the treatment of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in the upper trapezius muscle.

Design A total of 65 patients with MTrPs were randomly divided into ESWT group (n=32) and DN group (n=33). Patients received 3 weeks of treatment at one-week intervals in both groups Visual analogue scale (VAS), pressure pain threshold (PPT), Neck Disability Index (NDI) and shear modulus were evaluated pre-treatment, immediately post the first therapy, 1-month and 3-month after the completion of the third therapy.

Results Significant improvements of VAS, PPT, NDI scores were observed at all time points post-treatment (p<0.01) in both treatment groups. The shear modulus of MTrPs was reduced in both DN group (p<0.05) and ESWT group (p<0.01) immediately after the first treatment. Significant reductions in shear modulus were maintained up to 3-month post-treatment in both groups (p<0.01). There were no significant differences between the radial ESWT group and DN group.

Conclusions The ESWT is as effective as DN for relieving pain, improving function and reducing shear modulus for patients with MTrPs following a series of three treatments.

From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, PR China (SL); Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Lianjian People’s Hospital, Guangdong, PR China (ZZ); Departments of Rehabilitation (SL,CL,SK,CL,SW,CM) and Ultrasonic (JR), Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Guangzhou, PR China; Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China (WX)

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

Co-Corresponding authors: Chao Ma and Shaoling Wu are both corresponding authors of this article. All correspondence should be addressed to: Chao Ma, MD, PhD and Shaoling Wu, MD, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, No.107 Yanjiang West Road, Guangzhou, 510120, China

Disclosures: 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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