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Pain. 2016 Sep;157(9):1905-17. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000591.

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

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aPhysiotherapy in Women's Health Research Group, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, SpainbPrimary Health Care, Physiotherapy Unit, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, SpaincPhysiotherapy Unit, Provincial Hospital, Toledo, SpaindDepartment of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Physiotherapy, University of Valencia, Valencia, SpaineDepartments of Human Physiology and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Ixelles, BelgiumfDepartment of Physical Medicine and Physiotherapy, University Hospital Brussels, Brussels, BelgiumgPain in Motion Research Group, www.paininmotion.behDepartment of Medicine, UCAM Catholic University of Murcia, Murcia, SpainiSchool 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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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