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Safety of dry needling in stroke patients: a scoping review

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2024 Mar 19. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.24.08224-8. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Spasticity is a common problem in stroke patients. Treatments of spasticity often have side effects or are insufficiently effective. Dry needling (DN) has been proposed as a potential additional option to consider in the multimodal treatment of post-stroke spasticity, although questions about its safety remain. The goal of this study is to assess the safety of DN in stroke patients.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic search in Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, CIHNAL and PEDro was conducted in June 2023. Two reviewers independently screened abstracts according to the eligibility criteria.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Twenty-five articles were included in this review. Only six studies reported adverse events, all of which were considered minor. None of the included studies reported any serious adverse events. In four of the included studies anticoagulants were regarded as contra-indicative for DN. Anticoagulants were not mentioned in the other included studies.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, there is a paucity of literature concerning the safety of DN in stroke patients. This review is the first to investigate the safety of DN in stroke patients and based on the results there is insufficient evidence regarding the safety of DN in stroke patients.

CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Although DN could be a promising treatment in post-stroke spasticity, further research is indicated to investigate its mechanism of action and its effect on outcome. However, before conducting large clinical trials to assess outcome parameters, the safety of DN in stroke patients must be further investigated.

PMID:38502557 | DOI:10.23736/S1973-9087.24.08224-8


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