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Chronic non-specific neck pain and dry needling

Chronic neck pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as 'pain perceived anywhere in the posterior region of the cervical spine'.

Pain is defined as chronic if it has persisted for 12 weeks or longer. Individuals are often hypersensitive to the touch, and report high levels of pain on both active and passive movements. In those who suffer with chronic neck pain, muscle contractures are present in tissue (also known as myofascial trigger points), which may also be described as 'muscle knots'.

A study conducted by Cerezo-Tellez, E. et al., (2016) looked into the effectiveness of deep dry needling of myofascial trigger points in people with chronic non-specific neck pain. 130 individuals were selected with non-specific neck pain, and received four sessions of treatment over two-weeks, with a six-month follow-up after treatment.

Significant and clinically relevant differences were found in favour of dry needling in all the outcomes, in the short and long-term. Deep dry needling and passive stretching was found to be more effective than passive stretching alone.

Chronic pain is multi-factorial, and considering the biological, psychological and socio-environmental factors to that patient is crucial in offering the best outcome. The use of dry needling would be a part of that treatment process in getting that person better. The outcomes to this study are encouraging, and offers additional help to those suffering chronic neck pain.


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