Dry Needling Results Better than No Dry Needling for Discogenic Low Back Pain
A controlled study was conducted of the potential benefit of Physical Therapist Dry Needling as an additional intervention for patients who had discogenic back and radiating pain into one or both legs. 58 active adults between age 20 and 50 were randomly assigned to either a conservative physical therapy group (Number = 29 patients), or a conservative physical therapy group plus Dry Needling (Number = 29 patients). The conservative physical therapy procedures were the same for both groups and included heat and electrical stimulation modalities followed by a standardized protocol of spinal exercise.
Dry Needling Group Intervention: A maximum of 5 Dry Needling sessions were performed, and the needle placements were matched to lumbar muscle active Myofascial Trigger Points. Each Dry Needling treatment lasted no more than 15 minutes.
Outcome Measures: Radiating pain intensity/pain scales and functional disability survey tools were administered to both groups. These measures were conducted immediately post interventions, and at a 2-month follow-up after all treatments were completed.
Results: Pain and disability improved in both groups, but the Dry Needling group had more significant improvement than the standard physical therapy group. The improvement was more significant both post intervention, and at the 2-month follow-up.
Special Note by Researchers: The results “imply that the radiating pain in discogenic low back pain may not be only due to a compression-induced irritation of the nerve roots, but it may also be due to the activation of Myofascial Trigger Points in the natural course of the disorder”.
Conclusion: In this study, Physical Therapist addition of Dry Needling significantly decreased pain intensity and improved the function of those with discogenic low back/radiating pain.
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