One thing that sets NAIOMT apart in the world of post professional manual therapy education is our faculty. We are an eclectic, ever-evolving group of practicing clinicians dedicated to moving the profession forward. This week, the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy released its July issue with a focus on dry needling. In it, NAIOMT faculty member, Gary Kearns, instructor of our Advanced Dry Needling course, presents New perspectives on dry needling following a medical model: are we screening our patients sufficiently?, along with colleagues César Fernández-De-Las-Peñas, Jean-Michel Brismée, Josué Gan & Jacqueline Doidge.
My lovely wife. I blame her for sparking my passion for dry needling. A little background on her will help. She’s a pediatric physical therapist, smart as a whip, and very skeptical of my manual techniques. As I was completing my fellowship I was feeling pretty confident in my skills when she came to me with complaints of bilateral cervicothoracic junction and upper trapezius pain.
By now you may have heard about or taken one of our multi-level manual therapy courses on the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbopelvic spine, or upper and lower quadrant. But as faculty who are practicing clinicians seeing recurring issues in clinics across the country, once in a while we make the decision to develop specialty courses beyond our core curriculum to equip PTs with the skills to address them. Here are a few coming up that may relate to what you're facing in the clinic.
Objective: To investigate the relationship between dry needling-induced twitch response and change in pain, disability, nociceptive sensitivity,and lumbar multifidus muscle function, in patients with low back pain (LBP).
Design: Quasi-experimental study.Setting Department of Defense Academic Institution.
Participants: Sixty-six patients with mechanical LBP (38 men, 28 women, age: 41.3 [9.2] years).
Interventions: Dry needling treatment to the lumbar multifidus muscles between L3 and L5 bilaterally.
Main outcome measure:s Examination procedures included numeric pain rating, the Modified Oswestry Disability Index, pressure algometry,and real-time ultrasound imaging assessment of lumbar multifidus muscle function before and after dry needling treatment. Pain pressurethreshold (PPT) was used to measure nocioceptive sensitivity. The percent change in muscle thickness from rest to contraction was calculatedto represent muscle function. Participants were dichotomized and compared based on whether or not they experienced at least one twitchresponse on the most painful side and spinal level during dry needling.
Result:s Participants experiencing local twitch response during dry needling exhibited greater immediate improvement in lumbar multifidusmuscle function than participants who did not experience a twitch (thickness change with twitch: 12.4 %, thickness change without twitch:5.7 %, mean difference adjusted for baseline value, 95%CI: 4.4 [1 to 8]%). However, this difference was not present after 1-week, andthere were no between-groups differences in disability, pain intensity, or nociceptive sensitivity.
Conclusions: The twitch response during dry needling might be clinically relevant, but should not be considered necessary for successfultreatment.
To pop, or not to pop? That has long been a questions among clinicians who utilize spinal manipulation. Is the cavitation, or audible pop, necessary to achieve a "successful" manipluation? While some literature indicates that it may not be necessary, this remains a viable question.
In an almost synonymous fashion, achieving a local twitch response (LTR) has been viewed by some as one of the primary goals with dry needling as it has been associated with better treatment outcomes (1,2). The local twitch response has been shown to be associated with a decrease in nociceptive and inflammatory chemicals (1,3-6), increased blood flow (7), and decrease pain (8) to name a few. In some circles, the LTR considered as the hallmark of a successful dry needling treatment. Recently, the authors sought to investigate the association between the LTR and changes in pain and function in patients with lumbar pain.
**Abstract of the week shared by NAIOMT Clinical Fellowship Instructor Gary Kearns, PT, COMT, FAAOMPT
2. Hong CZ. Lidocaine injection versus dry needling to myofascial trigger points. The importance of the local twitch response. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1994;73(4):256-263.
3. Bron C, Dommerholt JD. Etiology of myofascial trigger points. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012;16(5):439-444.
4. Huguenin LK. Myofascial trigger points: the current evidence. Phys Ther Sport. 2004;5(1).
5. Shah JP, Phillips T, Danoff JV, Gerber LH. A novel microanalytical technique for assaying soft tissue demonstrates significant quantitative biochemical differences in 3 clinically distinct groups: normal, latent, and active. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003;84(9):E4.
6. Shat JP, Phillips TM, Danoff, JV, Gerber LH. An in vivo microanalytical technique for measuring the local biochemical milieu of human skeletal muscle. J App Physiol. 2005;99(5):1977-1984.
7. Jimbo S, Atsuta Y, Kobayashi T, Matsuno T. Effects of dry needling at tender points for neck pain (Japanese: Katakori): near-infrared spectroscopy for monitoring muscular oxygenation of the trapezius. J Orthop Sci. 2008;13(2):101-106.
This week, we'd like you to meet David Bond, a third-year student physical therapist at the University of Washington. But he's not your average PT student. A former fire fighter and paramedic, he's currently interning in outpatient physical therapy at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon. As we've mentioned many times before, we feel it's important to hear (and learn!) from not only the most seasoned PTs, but those who are the next wave to be in the field. David is showing tremendous promise and passion and we're pleased to share a bit of his perspective with you.
Abstract: The effect of dry needling for myofascial trigger points in the neck and shoulders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ong J1, Claydon LS2.
This systematic review and meta-analysis sought investigate the efficacy of dry needling of myofascial trigger points in the neck and shoulders. Four of the quality articles reviewed compared dry needling to lidocaine injections on pain relief.
I had a 34 year old gentleman I was treating for a textbook L5 radiculopathy. He was responding beautifully to a combination of a Medrol dose pack, mechanical traction and an extension biased program. After 3 weeks his radicular symptoms were abolished and he was left with mild right lumbosacral pain that was resistant to further treatment. Honestly, at this point I was a bit stuck. Objectively, ROM testing was non-provocative, repeated movements did nothing, biomechanical assessment was unremarkable, neural testing was non-provocative and palpation only revealed bilateral multifidus atrophy at L5. Do I chalk it up to low level dural irritation I can’t provoke? What about very minor inflammation producing a chemically mediated pain I can’t provoke? Or, is it just the posterior annulus that remains painful? I could go on, but I think you see my paralysis by overanalysis.
Of late,Twitter has been engulfed in a rather ferocious to and fro on dry needling. The current darling of the PT world has been challenged. As any chivalrous gentleman would do, swords were drawn from their scabbards in defense of 'her' honor. The two sides parried back and forth until, so far as I can tell, each became weary of the other and returned to their abodes with nothing in particular resolved. (See just a few points of view here, here, and here).