Ceballos-Laita L, Jimenez-Del-Barrio S, Marin-Zurdo J, et al. Effectiveness of Dry Needling Therapy on Pain, Hip Muscle Strength, and Physical Function in Patients With Hip Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Feb 7. pii: S0003-9993(21)00147-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2021.01.077. (Original study)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the short-term effects of dry needling (DN) on physical function, pain, and hip muscle strength in patients with hip osteoarthritis (OA).

DESIGN: A double-blind, placebo-control, randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Private practice physiotherapy clinic.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients with unilateral hip OA (N=45) were randomly allocated to a DN group, sham DN group, or control group.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients in the DN and sham groups received 3 treatment sessions. Three active myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) were treated in each session with DN or a sham needle procedure. The treatment was applied in active MTrPs of the iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, and gluteus minimus muscles.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Physical function was assessed with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) physical function subscale, the timed Up and Go test, and the 40-meter self-paced walk test. Intensity of hip pain related to physical function was evaluated using the visual analog scale and WOMAC pain subscale. The maximal isometric force of hip muscles was recorded with a handheld dynamometer.

RESULTS: Significant group by time interactions were shown for physical function, pain, and hip muscle force variables. Post hoc tests revealed a significant reduction in hip pain and significant improvements in physical function and hip muscle strength in the DN group compared with the sham and control groups. The DN group showed within- and between-groups large effect sizes (d>0.8).

CONCLUSIONS: DN therapy in active MTrPs of the hip muscles reduced pain and improved hip muscle strength and physical function in patients with hip OA. DN in active MTrPs of the hip muscles should be considered for the management of hip OA.

Discipline Area Score
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 6 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) rater

This is an excellent demonstration of a short-term approach that can facilitate other treatments. Good design, but, of course, not representative of clinical practice because it was a single intervention.

Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) rater

As a Physical Therapist, I find the evidence provided in this article inspires me to move forward to obtain my Dry Needling credentials. Until now, I was not convinced that DN was that significant of a treatment tool.
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