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Effects of dry needling on muscle spasticity of the upper limb in a survivor of traumatic brain injury: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2022 Jun 14;16(1):237. doi: 10.1186/s13256-022-03408-5.


BACKGROUND: Survivors of moderate and severe traumatic brain injury typically present with spasticity, an upper motor neuron lesion associated with hyperexcitability of the stretch reflex due to disinhibition of cortical influences on spinal cord circuits and structural and functional changes in skeletal muscle. There is growing evidence supporting the effectiveness of dry needling in abating spasticity.

CASE PRESENTATION: The present case aims to quantify the effects of dry needling on upper limb spastic muscles in a survivor of severe traumatic brain injury in a 27-year-old Iranian man. The treated muscles were biceps brachii, brachialis, flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, opponens pollicis, and adductor pollicis. Outcome measures were evaluated before and 1 hour after the intervention. Our results showed that the patient’s upper limb recovery stage and hand function improved one grade according to Brunnstrom recovery stages. Spasticity assessed using the Modified Modified Ashworth Scale in all movements showed one-grade abatement, except in the forearm pronator. Passive resistance force decreased in all movements except in forearm supination. Active range of motion and passive range of motion increased in all movements except in active and passive forearm supination. Hand dexterity improved in both affected and unaffected hands.

CONCLUSIONS: Results shown that dry needling could be a favorable option for reducing spasticity.

PMID:35701822 | DOI:10.1186/s13256-022-03408-5


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