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Dry needling for spine related disorders: a scoping review.

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Dry needling for spine related disorders: a scoping review.

Chiropr Man Therap. 2020 May 11;28(1):23

Authors: Funk MF, Frisina-Deyo AJ

INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND: The depth and breadth of research on dry needling (DN) has not been evaluated specifically for symptomatic spine related disorders (SRD) from myofascial trigger points (TrP), disc, nerve and articular structures not due to serious pathologies. Current literature appears to support DN for treatment of TrP. Goals of this review include identifying research published on DN treatment for SRD, sites of treatment and outcomes studied.
METHODS: A scoping review was conducted following Levac et al.’s five part methodological framework to determine the current state of the literature regarding DN for patients with SRD.
RESULTS: Initial and secondary search strategies yielded 55 studies in the cervical (C) region (71.43%) and 22 in the thoracolumbar-pelvic (TLP) region (28.57%). Most were randomized controlled trials (60% in C, 45.45% in TLP) and clinical trials (18.18% in C, 22.78% in TLP). The most commonly treated condition was TrP for both the C and TLP regions. In the C region, DN was provided to 23 different muscles, with the trapezius as treatment site in 41.88% of studies. DN was applied to 31 different structures in the TLP region. In the C region, there was one treatment session in 23 studies (41.82%) and 2-6 treatments in 25 (45.45%%). For the TLP region, one DN treatment was provided in 8 of the 22 total studies (36.36%) and 2-6 in 9 (40.9%). The majority of experimental designs had DN as the sole intervention. For both C and TLP regions, visual analogue scale, pressure pain threshold and range of motion were the most common outcomes.
CONCLUSION: For SRD, DN was primarily applied to myofascial structures for pain or TrP diagnoses. Many outcomes were improved regardless of diagnosis or treatment parameters. Most studies applied just one treatment which may not reflect common clinical practice. Further research is warranted to determine optimal treatment duration and frequency. Most studies looked at DN as the sole intervention. It is unclear whether DN alone or in addition to other treatment procedures would provide superior outcomes. Functional outcome tools best suited to tracking the outcomes of DN for SRD should be explored.

PMID: 32393383 [PubMed – in process]


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