Contribution of Dry Needling to Individualized Physical Therapy Treatment of Shoulder Pain

Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) are implicated in shoulder pain and functional limitations. An intervention intended to treat MTrPs is dry needling. The objective of thus study was to  investigate the effectiveness of dry needling in addition to evidence-based personalized physical therapy treatment in the treatment of shoulder pain.

One hundred twenty patients with nonspecific shoulder pain were randomly allocated into 2 parallel groups: (1) personalized, evidencebased physical therapy treatment; and (2) trigger point dry needling in addition to personalized, evidence-based physical therapy treatment. Patients were assessed at baseline, posttreatment, and 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure was pain assessed by a visual analog scale at 3 months, and secondary variables were joint range-of-motion limitations, Constant-Murley score for pain and function, and number of active MTrPs. Clinical efficacy was assessed using intention-to-treat analysis. Of the 120 enrolled patients, 63 were randomly assigned to the control group and 57 to the intervention group. There were no significant differences in outcome between the 2 treatment groups. Both groups showed improvement over time.

Dry needling did not offer benefits in addition to personalized, evidencebased physical therapy treatment for patients with nonspecific shoulder pain.