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Efficacy of Dry Needling for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Altern Ther Health Med. 2022 Nov 18:AT7480. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the current evidence of the effectiveness of dry needling in patients with chronic low back pain (LBP).

METHODS: PubMed, Medline, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, CINAHL and PEDro databases were searched until 2020.

STUDY SELECTION: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that used dry needling as the main treatment and which included participants diagnosed with chronic LBP.

DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently screened articles, scored methodologic quality, and extracted data. The primary outcomes were pain intensity and functional disability at post-intervention and follow-up.

RESULTS: A total of 8 RCTs involving 414 patients were included in the meta-analysis. All trials examined the efficacy of DN in patients with chronic LBP. Results suggested that compared with other treatments, dry needling combined was more effective in alleviating the pain intensity of LBP post-intervention (standardised mean difference [SMD], -0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.79 to -0.05; P = .03) and at short- term (SMD -0.99, 95% CI -1.61 to -0.37, P = .002).

CONCLUSION: Current evidence showed that dry needling, especially if associated with other therapies, could be recommended to relieve the pain intensity of LBP at post-intervention and at short-term follow up. There is no evidence that dry needling alone or in combination improves disability at post-immediate or at short-term follow up.

REGISTRATION: This review was registered on PROSPERO (PROSPERO CRD42020215781) and was aligned with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for reporting systematic reviews that evaluate healthcare interventions.



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