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Dry Needling of Tender Points Results in Reduced FM Pain and Fatigue

  [ 1 vote ]   [ 1 Comment ] • April 26, 2013

Editor's Comment: Most people with fibromyalgia are familiar with trigger point or tender point injections, where saline, a local anesthetic, or corticosteroids are injected into a myofascial trigger point or an FM tender point in an effort to provide short-term pain relief.  While dry needling involves the use of a needle on the same trigger or tender points, no substance is injected.  Instead, a fine solid filament needle, like those used for acupuncture, is used to stimulate the trigger or tender points.  Dry needling can be performed by an acupuncturist or a medical or chiropractic physician trained in dry needling techniques.

Short-term improvement following dry needle stimulation of tender points in fibromyalgia.

By Benigno Casanueva, et al.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the short-term efficacy of dry needling therapy in patients severely affected by fibromyalgia.

One hundred and twenty fibromyalgia patients were randomly divided into two groups. The control group, 56 women and 4 men, and the dry needling group, 54 women and 6 men, who apart from continuing their medical treatment, also underwent weekly 1-h session of dry needling for 6  weeks.

At the beginning of the program, there were significant differences in the age (mean 56.26  years in the dry needling group versus 50.82  years in controls, p  =  0.01) and McGill Pain Questionnaire [MPQ] (mean 39.07 in dry needling group versus 42.44 in controls, p  =  0.03).

At the end of treatment, the experimental group showed significant differences in most tests, including

  • Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) of pain (p  =  0.002),

  • VAS of fatigue (p  =  0.02),

  • pain of Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form-36 (SF-36) (p  =  0.0007),

  • myalgic score (p  =  0.0005),

  • pressure pain threshold (p  =  0.002), and

  • global subjective improvement (p  =  0.00001).

Six weeks after the end of the treatment, the dry needling group still showed significant differences in most tests, including

  • VAS of pain (p  =  0.01),

  • VAS of fatigue (p  =  0.02),

  • pain of SF-36 (p  =  0.01),

  • myalgic score (p  =  0.00001),

  • pressure pain threshold (p  =  0.0004), and

  • global subjective improvement (p  =  0.00001).

In conclusion, patients severely affected by fibromyalgia can obtain short-term improvements following weekly dry needling for 6  weeks.

Source: Rheumatology International, April 23, 2013. By Benigno Casanueva, Paula Rivas, Baltasar Rodero, Covadonga Quintial, Javier Llorca, and Miguel A. González-Gay. Rheumatology Service at the Specialist Clinic of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Central nervous system?
Posted by: KerryK
Apr 27, 2013
Surely this is yet more proof that FMS is not just a central nervous system phemomena.
Reply Reply
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