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Electrical dry needling versus a non-invasive multicomponent intervention in the treatment of myofascial trigger points in patients with chronic low back pain: A randomised clinical trial.

Clinical Rehabilitation 2023 September 14
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of electrical dry needling with a non-invasive multi-component intervention in patients with chronic low back pain.

DESIGN: A randomised single-blind clinical trial.

SETTING: Outpatient Physiotherapy Clinic; home.

PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-four patients with chronic low back pain aged 30-65 years.

INTERVENTIONS: Six-week electrical dry needling on myofascial trigger points, and a non-invasive multicomponent intervention (home exercise programme, stretching and ischemic compression).

MAIN MEASURES: Pain (Visual Analogue Scale), disability (Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire and Oswestry Disability Index), kinesiophobia (Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia), quality of life and sleep (Short Form 36-item Health Survey and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), isometric endurance of trunk flexor muscles (McQuade test), lumbar mobility in flexion (finger-to-floor distance), and pressure pain threshold (algometer) were assessed at baseline, after 6 weeks, and after 2 months.

RESULTS: ANOVA showed statistically significant differences in group-by-time interaction for most pain pressure thresholds of myofascial trigger points ( P  < 0.05), for disability (Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire: F = 6.14, P  = 0.016; and Oswestry Disability Index: F = 7.36, P  = 0.009), for trunk anteflexion (F = 10.03, P  = 0.002) and for habitual sleep efficacy (F = 6.65, P  = 0.012), use of hypnotics (F = 4.77, P  = 0.033) and total score of quality of sleep (F = 8.23, P  = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS: In comparison to a non-invasive multicomponent intervention, electrical dry needling has more positive effects on disability, pain intensity, kinesiophobia, and reducing patients' sensitivity to myofascial trigger points pressure, at post-treatment and at 2 months.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04804228. Registered on May 28th, 2021. Available at

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