Baseline Examination Factors Associated With Clinical Improvement After Dry Needling in Individuals With Low Back Pain

This study aimed to investigate for associations between demographic, patient history, and physical examination variables and short-term improvement in self-reported disability after dry needling therapy performed on individuals with low back pain (LBP). Increased LBP with the multifidus lift test (rpb = 0.31, P = .01) or during passive hip flexion performed with the patient supine (rpb = 0.23, P = .06), as well as positive beliefs about acupuncture/dry needling (rho = 0.22, P = .07), demonstrated univariate associations with Oswestry Disability Index improvement. Aggravation of LBP with standing (rpb = -0.27, P = .03), presence of leg pain (rpb = -0.29, P = .02), and any perception of hypermobility in the lumbar spine (rpb = -0.21, P = .09) were associated with less improvement. The multivariate model identified 2 predictors of improved disability with dry needling: pain with the multifidus lift test and no aggravation whith standing (R(2) = 0.16, P = .01).

Greater LBP with the multifidus lift test was the strongest predictor of improved disability after dry needling, indicating that the finding of pain during muscle contraction should be studied in future dry needling studies.