Ischemic Compression after Dry Needling of a Latent Myofascial Trigger Point Reduces Post-Needling Soreness Intensity and Duration

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ischemic compression (IC) versus placebo and control on reducing postneedling soreness of one latent myofascial trigger point (MTrP) and on improving cervical range of motion (CROM) in asymptomatic subjects. All subjects received a dry needling application over the upper trapezius muscle. Then, participants were separated at random into three groups: a treatment group, who received IC over the needled trapezius muscle, a placebo group who received sham IC and a control group who did not receive any treatment after needling. Visual analog scale (VAS; during needling, at post-treatment, 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours) and CROM (at pre-needling, postneedling, 24 and 72 hours). Subjects in the IC group displayed significantly lower postneedling soreness than the placebo and the control groups subjects immediately after treatment (Mean±SD; IC: 20.1±4.8; Placebo: 36.7±4.8; Control: 34.8±3.6) and at 48 hours (Mean±SD; IC: 0.6±1; Placebo: 4.8±1; control: 3.8±0.7). In addition, subjects in the dry needling+IC group showed significantly lower postneedling soreness duration (P=.026). All subjects significantly improved the cervical range of motion in contralateral lateroflexion and both homolateral and contralateral rotations, but only the improvements found in the IC group reached the minimal detectable change.

IC can potentially be added immediately after dry needling of MTrPs in the upper trapezius muscle because it has the effect of decreasing postneedling soreness intensity and duration. The combination of dry needling and IC seems to improve CROM in homolateral and contralateral cervical rotation movements.