Acupunct Med. 2021 Sep 19:9645284211039232. doi: 10.1177/09645284211039232. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Alterations in gait and muscular rigidity are common and disabling in persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine whether a single dry needling (DN) session can promote changes in gait and muscle tone in the lower extremities as well as in the evolution of the disease in persons with PD.
METHODS: A randomized double-blind clinical trial was designed. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group (IG) that received a session of DN over the semitendinosus, medial gastrocnemius, soleus and rectus femoris muscles, or to a control group (CG) that received a session of sham DN in the same muscles. The effects of DN were assessed using the timed up and go test (TUG), 10 meter walk test (10MWT), 6 minute walk test (6MWT) and myotonometry before, immediately after, and 7 days after the intervention.
RESULTS: Thirty-three participants were analyzed aged 69.9 ± 7.2 years (mean ± SD; 39% female). There were no significant differences between the IG and CG for any outcomes. Significant differences were observed when comparing the Pre and Follow-up values in the IG for functional mobility of gait in the TUG (p = 0.049), gait speed in the 10MWT (p = 0.041) and muscle tone in the lower extremities by myotonometry (frequency (p = 0.027) and stiffness (p = 0.013)). By comparison, there were no significant within-group differences in the CG.
CONCLUSION: A single session of DN had no measurable benefit compared to a single session of sham DN. Within-group changes in the IG suggested improvements in functional mobility of gait and gait speed, as well as changes in the muscle tone in the lower extremities of PD patients, which could be worthy of further exploration by future research.