Life (Basel). 2022 Oct 11;12(10):1575. doi: 10.3390/life12101575.
BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis is one of the most common degenerative joint diseases. The main symptoms of the osteoarthritis have been linked to the presence of myofascial trigger points in the soft tissues. Dry needing (DN) is the most investigated technique for the treatment of myofascial trigger points. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of DN in pain and physical function in patients with osteoarthritis in the short-, medium- and long-term.
METHODS: PubMed, Cochrane Library, PEDro, Web of Science, and SCOPUS databases were searched in September 2022. Randomized controlled trials involving DN compared to non-pharmacological interventions, sham techniques or no additional treatment were selected. Quality of the studies was assessed with PEDro scale and risk of bias with Cochrane Collaboration tool. Meta-analyses were conducted using fixed or random effects models according to the Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions.
RESULTS: Seven studies were included in the meta-analysis involving 291 patients with osteoarthritis. The methodological quality of the included studies ranged from fair to high. DN showed significant improvements in pain intensity (SMD = -0.76; 95% CI: -1.24, -0.29; I2: 74%) and physical function (SMD = -0.98; 95% CI: -1.54, -0.42; I2: 75%) in the short-term. No differences were found in the medium- or long-term. The risk of bias, heterogeneity, and imprecision of the results downgraded the level of evidence to very low.
CONCLUSIONS: Very low-quality evidence suggests a positive effect of DN for reducing pain intensity and improving physical function in the short term in patients with osteoarthritis. Further investigation is needed to determine a medium- and long-term effects.