Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2022 May 5;28:100921. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2022.100921. eCollection 2022 Aug.
BACKGROUND: Spasticity is one of the most common problems after the first stroke. Dry needling (DN) has been presented as a new therapeutic approach used by physiotherapists for the management of post-stroke spasticity. This study aimed to determine whether the addition of exercise therapy to the DN results in better outcomes in wrist flexors spasticity, motor neuron excitability, motor function and range of motion (ROM) in patients with chronic stroke.
METHODS: We will use a single-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT) in accordance with the CONSORT guidelines. A total of 24 patients with stroke will be included from the University Rehabilitation Clinics. The outcome measures will include Modified Modified Ashworth Scale, Hmax/Mmax ratio, H-reflex latency, Action Research Arm Test, Fugl-Meyer Assessment, and wrist extension active and passive range of motion. Patients in the DN and exercise therapy group will undergo 4 sessions of deep DN in flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris muscles on the affected upper limb and exercise therapy. Participants in the DN group will only receive DN for target muscles. Clinical and neurophysiological tests will be performed at baseline, after four therapy sessions, and at three weeks’ follow-up.
DISCUSSION: This study will provide evidence for additional effects of exercise therapy to DN in comparison to DN alone on wrist flexors spasticity, motor neuron excitability, upper-limb motor function, and ROM in patients with chronic stroke.