Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2022 Sep 11;49:101667. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2022.101667. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Patients with hip osteoarthritis (OA) present myofascial trigger points in the hip muscles that may reduce muscle extensibility, provoke pain and stiffness, and decrease physical function. The purpose of the study was to compare the effects of dry needling (DN) intervention with a self-stretching protocol on muscle extensibility, pain, stiffness, and physical function in patients with hip OA.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A single-blinded randomised controlled trial was designed. Thirty-eight participants with hip OA were randomly assigned to the DN group (n = 19) or the stretching group (n = 19). The DN group received three sessions of DN, and the stretching group followed a 3-week protocol. Hip muscle extensibility was the primary outcome and was measured using the Ely test, the modified Ober test, and the Active Knee Extension test. Pain, stiffness, and physical function were the secondary outcomes measured with the WOMAC questionnaire. The variables were assessed before and after treatment by blinded examiners.
RESULTS: DN was more effective than self-stretching for improving hip flexor and abductor muscles extensibility (p < 0.05). DN and self-stretching techniques improved hip extensor muscles extensibility, pain, stiffness, and physical function in patients with hip OA (<0.05). The DN group showed large effect sizes in all the variables (d > 0.8).
CONCLUSION: Three sessions of DN were more effective than three weeks of self-stretching to improve hip muscle extensibility in patients with hip OA. DN and self-stretching techniques decreased pain and stiffness and improved physical function in patients with hip OA.