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Dry needling in a multimodal rehabilitation protocol following rotator cuff repair surgery: study protocol for a double-blinded randomized sham-controlled trial

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2023 Apr 26;24(1):330. doi: 10.1186/s12891-023-06269-1.


BACKGROUND: Rotator cuff tear (RCT) is one of the main causes of shoulder pain and dysfunction. Rotator cuff repair (RCR) is a common surgical procedure for the management of RCTs. Presence of myofascial trigger points (MTrP) as a result of surgical procedure can aggravate postoperative shoulder pain. The purpose of this protocol is to describe a randomized controlled trial design to evaluate the effect of implementing 4 sessions of myofascial trigger point dry needling (MTrP-DN) within a multimodal rehabilitation protocol following RCR surgery.

METHODS: Forty-six participants aged 40-75 will be recruited having postoperative shoulder pain after RCR and meeting the inclusion criteria. Participants will be randomly divided into 2 groups: One group will undergo MTrP-DN, manual therapy, exercise therapy and electrotherapy and the other will receive sham dry needling (S-DN), manual therapy, exercise therapy and electrotherapy. This protocol will cover 4 weeks of intervention. The primary outcome measure will be the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) for pain. Secondary outcome measures will be Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPDI), range of motion (ROM), strength and adverse events.

DISCUSSION: This is the first study to investigate the use of 4 sessions of MTrP-DN in combination with a multimodal rehabilitation protocol for postoperative shoulder pain, restriction, weakness and dysfunction following RCR. The results of this study may help to determine the effect of MTrP-DN on various outcomes after RCR surgery.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered at the ( ), (IRCT20211005052677N1) on 19/2/2022.

PMID:37101278 | DOI:10.1186/s12891-023-06269-1


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