Dry Needling: Neck & Shoulder Pain
This systematic review evaluated the evidences supporting the effectiveness of dry needling of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) associated with neck and shoulder pain; 20 RCTs were included.
Conclusions #1: Dry needling is effective for relieving MTrP pain in the short and medium term
Conclusions #2: Wet needling (i.e. lidocaine injections) is more effective than dry needling in relieving MTrP pain in the medium term
Conclusions #3: Physiotherapy (i.e. manual therapy & exercise) is more effective than dry needling in relieving MTrP pain in the medium term
So what can we learn from all these studies?
Dry needling is a great adjunct to other physiotherapy interventions but perhaps for better long term recovery, needling should not be used alone.
Reference: Liu Let al Effectiveness of dry needling for myofascial trigger points associated with neck and shoulder pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 May;96(5):944-55.