A new study from Iran has found that Dry Needling may be effective for reducing headache index, trigger point tenderness, and for increasing functional rating index and active cervical range of motion in individuals with cervicogenic headache who have active myofascial trigger points in the suboccipital and upper trapezius muscles.
You can read this new study in the paper by Sedighi et al which is titled, Comparison of acute effects of superficial and deep dry needling into trigger points of suboccipital and upper trapezius muscles in patients with cervicogenic headache, by clicking the link.
How The Cervicogenic Headache Patients Study Was Conducted
Thirty participants were randomly divided into two treatment groups, superficial (SDN) and deep dry needling (DDN). The outcome measures were headache index, trigger points tenderness, cervical range of motion (CROM), and functional rating index. These were all assessed at baseline, immediately after the intervention and one week after.
DDN was described as placing an acupuncture needle into a trigger point in the sub-occipital and upper trapezius muscles. SDN was described as inserting a needle into the sub-cutaneous layer above a trigger point within the same muscles as DDN.
DDN and SDN interventions were followed by a period of 15 minutes where the needles were left in situ.
Interestingly, there was no mention of eliciting a local twitch response, how the trigger point was located using manual palpation, how the trigger point location was confirmed using the needle, the depth of needling insertion, the gauge of needles used, the brand of needle or any elicited symptoms or signs during the treatments.
There are many holes in this bucket of research.
The lack of this detail reduces the external validity of the study to a level where we can draw very little conclusions about the efficacy of dry needling for patients presenting with symptoms of this nature.
This type of research is very frustrating for us as clinicians. It would not have taken too much more work to include this type of extra detail and alteration to the study design to provide an infinitely more helpful paper.
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