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Clinical Effectiveness of Dry Needling in Patients with Musculoskeletal Pain-An Umbrella Review

J Clin Med. 2023 Feb 2;12(3):1205. doi: 10.3390/jcm12031205.


The number of systematic reviews (SR) summarizing the literature regarding the clinical effects of Dry Needling (DN) has increased rapidly. Yet, rigorous evidence about the clinical effectiveness of this technique is still lacking. The aim of this umbrella review is to summarize the evidence about the clinical effects of trigger point DN on musculoskeletal disorders across all body regions. PubMed, Web of Science and Embase were searched to identify SRs examining the effect of DN (as a stand-alone intervention or combined with another treatment modality) compared to sham/no intervention or a physical therapy (PT) intervention with at least one clinical outcome in the domain of pain or physical functioning. Risk of bias (RoB) was assessed with the AMSTAR-2 tool. Quantification of the overlap in primary studies was calculated using the corrected covered area (CCA). The electronic search yielded 2286 results, of which 36 SRs were included in this review. Overall, DN is superior to sham/no intervention and equally effective to other interventions for pain reduction at short-term regardless of the body region. Some SRs favored wet needling (WN) over DN for short-term pain reductions. Results on physical functioning outcomes were contradictory across body regions. Limited data is available for mid- and long-term effects. DN has a short-term analgesic effect in all body regions and may be of additional value to the interventions that are used to date in clinical practice. Several studies have shown an additional treatment effect when combining DN to physiotherapeutic interventions compared to these interventions in isolation. There is a substantial need for the standardization of DN protocols to address the problem of heterogeneity and to strengthen the current evidence.

PMID:36769852 | DOI:10.3390/jcm12031205


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