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Ultrasound verification of palpation-based dry needling techniques of rotator cuff muscles: a prospective feasibility trial

J Man Manip Ther. 2023 Aug 13:1-7. doi: 10.1080/10669817.2023.2244735. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of using ultrasound to verify the placement of narrow-gauge dry needles within the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles utilizing palpation-based dry needle techniques.

METHODS: This is a prospective observational study with 10 participants recruited. Each participant had a dry needle placed within the infraspinatus and supraspinatus muscles by a trained physical therapist utilizing palpation-based methods. Following needle placement, ultrasound examination was then performed to determine the feasibility of needle tip visualization within the targeted tissues.

RESULTS: The needle tip was successfully visualized on ultrasound in 19/20 cases. The needle tip accurately resided in the targeted muscle tissue in each of the 19 cases it was successfully visualized.

CONCLUSIONS: Narrow-gauge dry needles used in physical therapy practice can be consistently visualized in the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles using ultrasound imaging. Also, the palpation method utilized is an accurate means of guiding dry needles into the targeted rotator cuff muscles. These are significant findings because most physical therapy clinics do not have the benefit of real-time imaging guidance and must rely solely on palpation-based needling methods.

PMID:37574811 | DOI:10.1080/10669817.2023.2244735


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