Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is associated with hyperalgesic zones in muscles called myofascial trigger points. MPS usually occurs after a muscle has been contracted repeatedly but unlike muscle tension pain, the discomfort associated with MPS persists or continues to worsen. Treatment options include physical therapy along with dry needling. Dry needling involves inserting an acupuncture-like needle into a myofascial trigger point, with the goal of decreasing pain and restoring range of motion.
Studies have compared dry needling to sham or placebo treatments and have provided evidence that dry needling can immediately decrease pain in patients with upper-quarter MPS, with an overall effect favoring dry needling. Other studies have shown that dry needling can decrease pain after 4 weeks in patients with upper-quarter MPS.
Overall, dry needling is recommend over sham and placebo for decreasing pain immediately after treatment and at 4 weeks in patients with upper-quarter MPS.
For more information, see What is Dry Needling?