J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2021 Apr;26:339-346. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2020.11.017. Epub 2020 Nov 24.
Muscles’ trigger points can induce scapular dyskinesia (SD) which interferes with overhead athletes’ professional training. We aimed to evaluate effects of dry needling (DN) alone and plus manual therapy (MT) on pain and function of overhead athletes with SD. 40 overhead athletes (15 male, 25 female) aged 18-45 with at least 3 points Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) pain intensity during training were recruited and randomly allocated to the treatment group: MT followed by DN on trigger points of Subscapularis, Pectoralis minor, Serratus anterior, upper and lower Trapezius muscles; or the control group: MT alone. The effect of shoulder trigger points DN plus MT with MT alone on pain, function, Pain Pressure Threshold (PPT) and SD in athletes with SD were compared. Both the examiner and the therapist were blinded to group assignment. Both groups were analyzed. Pain, disability and SD were improved in treatment group (P < .05). On the other hand, when only MT was applied, despite reduction in pain and disability (P < .001), scapular slide only improved in hands on waist position. Comparing the differences between groups showed a substantial reduction in pain (P < .001) and disability (P = .02) with significant improvement in scapular dyskinesia in treatment group (P = .02). Moreover, PPT significantly increased in the control group (P = .004). No adverse effects reported by the participants during this study. DN is an easy and applicable method that can synergistically reduce pain, disability and dyskinesia when it is combined with manual techniques to treat shoulder dysfunctions.