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Effectiveness of dry needling for chronic nonspecific neck pain: a randomized, single-blinded, clinical trial

Cerezo-Téllez, Ester; Torres-Lacomba, María; Fuentes-Gallardo, Isabel; Perez-Muñoz, Milagros; Mayoral-del-Moral, Orlando; Lluch-Girbés, Enrique; Prieto-Valiente, Luis; Falla, Deborah

doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000591
Research Paper

Chronic neck pain attributed to a myofascial pain syndrome is characterized by the presence of muscle contractures referred to as myofascial trigger points. In this randomized, parallel-group, blinded, controlled clinical trial, we examined the effectiveness of deep dry needling (DDN) of myofascial trigger points in people with chronic nonspecific neck pain. The study was conducted at a public Primary Health Care Centre in Madrid, Spain, from January 2010 to December 2014. A total of 130 participants with nonspecific neck pain presenting with active myofascial trigger points in their cervical muscles were included. These participants were randomly allocated to receive: DDN plus stretching (n = 65) or stretching only (control group [n = 65]). Four sessions of treatment were applied over 2 weeks with a 6-month follow-up after treatment. Pain intensity, mechanical hyperalgesia, neck active range of motion, neck muscle strength, and perceived neck disability were measured at baseline, after 2 sessions of intervention, after the intervention period, and 15, 30, 90, and 180 days after the intervention. Significant and clinically relevant differences were found in favour of dry needling in all the outcomes (all P < 0.001) at both short and long follow-ups. Deep dry needling and passive stretching is more effective than passive stretching alone in people with nonspecific neck pain. The results support the use of DDN in the management of myofascial pain syndrome in people with chronic nonspecific neck pain.

Deep dry needling of myofascial trigger points is an effective treatment for patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain.

aPhysiotherapy in Women's Health Research Group, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

bPrimary Health Care, Physiotherapy Unit, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

cPhysiotherapy Unit, Provincial Hospital, Toledo, Spain

dDepartment of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Physiotherapy, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

eDepartments of Human Physiology and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Ixelles, Belgium

fDepartment of Physical Medicine and Physiotherapy, University Hospital Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

gPain in Motion Research Group,

hDepartment of Medicine, UCAM Catholic University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

iSchool of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom,

jCenter for Anesthesiology, Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Corresponding author. Address: Physiotherapy in Women's Health Research Group, Department of Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy Faculty, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Campus Universitario externo, Carretera Madrid—Barcelona, E-28871 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain. Tel: 0034 625035299. E-mail address: (E. Cerezo-Téllez).

Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.

Received January 07, 2016

Received in revised form March 23, 2016

Accepted April 12, 2016

© 2016 International Association for the Study of Pain
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