Effectiveness of dry needling on the lower trapezius in patients with mechanical neck pain

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dry needling into a myofascial trigger point (MTrP) in the lower trapezius muscle of individuals with mechanical idiopathic neck pain. Patients (N=72) with unilateral neck pain, neck pain for ≥3 months, and active trigger points in the lower trapezius muscle were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups. All the patients completed the study. Interventions were dry needling in an MTrP in the lower trapezius muscle, or dry needling in the lower trapezius muscle but not at an MtrP. The visual analog scale (VAS), Neck Pain Questionnaire (NPQ), and pressure-pain threshold (PPT) were assessed prior to the intervention and 1 week and 1 month postintervention. Treatment with dry needling of the lower trapezius muscle close to the MTrP exhibited reductions in pain and PPT as well as an improvement in the degree of disability (P<.001) compared with the baseline and control group measurements (P<.001). The dry-needling technique performed in the MTrP exhibited more significant therapeutic effects (P<.001).

The application of dry needling into an active MTrP of the lower trapezius muscle results in significant changes in the VAS, NPQ, and PPT levels compared with the application of dry needling in other locations of the same muscle in individuals with mechanical neck pain.