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Open Access Dry needle stimulation of myofascial trigger points evokes segmental anti-nociceptive effects

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Objective: To test the hypothesis that dry needle stimulation of a myofascial trigger point (sensitive locus) evokes segmental anti-nociceptive effects.

Design: Double-blind randomized controlled trial.

Subjects: Forty subjects (21 males, 19 females).

Methods: Test subjects received intramuscular dry needle puncture to a right supraspinatus trigger point (C4,5); controls received sham intramuscular dry needle puncture. Pain pressure threshold (PPT) readings were recorded from right infraspinatus (C5,6) and right gluteus medius (L4,5S1) trigger points at 0 (pre-needling baseline), 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 min post-needling and normalized to baseline values. The supraspinatus and infraspinatus trigger points are neurologically linked at C5; the supraspinatus and gluteus medius are segmentally unrelated. The difference between the infraspinatus and gluteus medius PPT values (PPTseg) represents a direct measure of the segmental anti-nociceptive effects acting at the infraspinatus trigger point.

Results: Significant increases in PPTseg were observed in test subjects at 3 (p=0.002) and 5 (p=0.015) min post-needling, compared with controls.

Conclusion: One intervention of dry needle stimulation to a single trigger point (sensitive locus) evokes short-term segmental anti-nociceptive effects. These results suggest that trigger point (sensitive locus) stimulation may evoke anti-nociceptive effects by modulating segmental mechanisms, which may be an important consideration in the management of myofascial pain.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

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