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No Evidence of Short-Term Changes in Muscle Activity Elicited by Dry Needling in Chronic Unilateral Shoulder Pain Patients

Clin J Pain. 2023 Jul 11. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000001151. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to assess short-term changes in shoulder muscle activity elicited by dry needling in chronic unilateral shoulder pain patients.

METHODS: A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted, in which 30 volunteers with unilateral shoulder pain (USP) were recruited and randomly assigned to either real or sham dry needling conditions. Pain intensity scores, pressure pain threshold (PPT), glenohumeral internal rotation angles, and electromyographic activity during isotonic shoulder tasks (shoulder flexion and extension) were assessed before, immediately and 72 h after the intervention in the infraspinatus and deltoid muscles.

RESULTS: A single application of real dry needling resulted in lower pain intensity scores and a larger range in glenohumeral internal rotation 72 h after the intervention in comparison with sham dry needling. No differences in PPT or muscle activity were observed due to the intervention.

DISCUSSION: A single application of real dry needling resulted in clinically significant changes in the short-term. No differences were detected in muscle activation in the infraspinatus or deltoid muscles. Complementary interventions and longer follow-up times may be required to observe changes in muscle activity.

PMID:37440340 | DOI:10.1097/AJP.0000000000001151


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