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Treating myofascial pain with dry needling: a systematic review for the best evidence-based practices in low back pain

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2023 Dec;81(12):1169-1178. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-1777731. Epub 2023 Dec 29.


BACKGROUND: Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common source of pain in primary care or pain clinics. There are many different ways to manage and treat MPS, such as physical exercise, trigger points massage, and dry needling.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this overview is to highlight and discuss the evidence-based treatment of myofascial pain by dry needling in patients with low back pain.

METHODS: A systematic review was made based on meta-analysis (MA) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) related to dry needling treatment for myofascial pain in patients with lumbar pain, published from 2000 to 2023.

RESULTS: A total of 509 records were identified at first. Seventy were published before 2000, so they were excluded. From the remaining 439 studies, ninety-two were RCTs or MA, of which 86 additional studies were excluded for the following reasons: not related to dry needling treatment (n = 79), not published in English (n = 4), duplicated (n = 1), project protocol (n = 1), and not related to myofascial pain (n = 1). So, this review was based on 4 RCTs and two MA. These studies compared dry needling efficacy to other treatments, such as acupuncture, sham dry needling, laser therapy, physical therapy, local anesthetic injection, ischemic compression, and neuroscience education. Despite outcomes and follow-up period varied between them, they showed that dry needling can decrease post-intervention pain intensity and pain disability.

CONCLUSION: Dry needling is an effective procedure for the treatment of myofascial pain in patients with acute and chronic low back pain. Further high-quality studies are needed to clarify the long-term outcomes.

PMID:38157883 | DOI:10.1055/s-0043-1777731


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