Dry needling does not improve hamstring flexibility in patients with atraumatic knee pain

Study Type: Therapy
OE Level of Evidence: 1
Journal Level of Evidence: 2
Synopsis
39 young active patients experiencing atraumatic knee pain for greater than two weeks were included in this trial to determine if the addition of dry needling of the hamstring muscles to a standard stretching program improved hamstring range of motion, pain, and function when compared to sham dry needling and the standard stretching program. Multiple follow-ups over a one week period indicated no significant differences between the two groups. However, both groups Please login to view the rest of this report. Please login to view the rest of this report.
Funding: Non-funded
Conflicts: None disclosed
CONTENT IS LOCKED
Why was this study needed now?
The flexibility of the lower extremity has been shown to be reduced in patients with non-traumatic knee pain. This reduction in flexibility has been hypothesized to be a contributing factor to the functional reduction observed in these patients. Dry needling has emerged as a treatment for muscular pain and dysfunction, and its benefits have been demonstrated in previous research. However, the effects of dry needling on soft tissue flexibility have not been thoroughly investigated.
What was the principal research question?
Does the addition of dry needling of hamstring muscles to a standard stretching program improve soft tissue flexibility compared to a standard stretching program alone in patients with atraumatic knee pain when measured over a one-week follow-up?
Population: 39 patients with atraumatic knee pain with a minimum duration of 2 weeks and a reduction in active knee extension range of motion of >20 degrees who reported to a direct access physiotherapy clinic.
Intervention: Dry needling group: Patients underwent palpation of the hamstring to identify trigger points. Two sessions of dry needling were performed by a provider with 3 years of dry needling experience. Following the intervention, patients were given a standing hamstring stretch to perform for 30 seconds 3 times daily for one week. (n=20)
Comparison: Sham group: Patients underwent two sessions of sham dry needling. Following the sham interventions, patients were given the same standing stretch to perform for 30 seconds 3 times daily for one week (n=19)
Outcomes: The primary outcome was hamstring flexibility measured via active knee extension and active straight leg raise. Secondary outcomes included (VAS) pain during activity and function assessed using the lower extremity functional score.
Methods: RCT; Double Blind
Time: 1 week with follow-ups immediately post treatment, 1-2 days post intervention, 3-4 days post intervention, and 7-8 days post intervention.
What were the important findings?
What should I remember most?
How will this affect the care of my patients?
The authors responsible for this critical appraisal and ACE Report indicate no potential conflicts of interest relating to the content in the original publication.