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Effectiveness of Dry Needling versus Manual Therapy in Myofascial Temporomandibular Disorders: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

J Pers Med. 2023 Sep 21;13(9):1415. doi: 10.3390/jpm13091415.


Dry needling (DN) is an invasive physiotherapy technique employed for reducing myofascial pain. To compare the effectiveness of dry needling (DN) versus manual therapy (MT) in improving pain, active maximal mouth opening (AMMO) and cervical disability in patients with myofascial pain from temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) were investigated against these treatments. A single-blind, randomized controlled trial was carried out. Individuals (n = 50) with TMDs were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to the DN (n = 25) or MT group (n = 25). Each group received three sessions, separated by 4 days, of either DN or MT. Outcomes were assessed according to pain intensity (Numeric Pain Rating Scale), AMMO (cm), disability (Neck Disability Index), and pressure-pain threshold (PPT) (digital algometry) from the active myofascial trigger points. In both groups, pain and neck disability were significantly lower at the end of treatment compared with those measured at baseline (pain: -2.52 with 95% CI: -3.43 to -1.60 for DN group; pain: -2.92 with 95% CI: -3.77 to -2.07 for MT group; disability: -3.2 with 95% CI: -4.31 to -2.09 for DN group; disability: -2.68 with 95% CI: -3.56 to -1.79 for MT group), but not were not lower after the first session, without differences between the groups. AMMO was significantly higher after the first session (0.16 with 95% CI: 0.03 to 0.29 for DN group; 0.30 with 95% CI: 0.20 to 0.41 for MT group) and at the end of treatment in both groups (0.27 with 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.41 for DN group; 0.37 with 95% CI: 0.22 to 0.52 for MT group) compared with the baseline measurements. Finally, PPT results for the masseter and pterygoid muscles were significantly higher at the end of treatment in both groups (without statistically significant differences between groups), but not after the first session. The assessed therapies, DN and MT, are equally effective in improving pain, AMMO, cervical disability, and PPT in the muscles directly involved in the temporomandibular joint biomechanics of patients with myofascial TMDs.

PMID:37763182 | DOI:10.3390/jpm13091415


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