Effects of dry needling on pain, range of motion and function in patients with upper cross syndrome

  • Komal Uroj Riphah International University, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Syed Shakeel ur Rehman Riphah International University, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Muhammad Sanaullah Superior University, Lahore, Pakistan.
Keywords: dry needling, muscle spasm, muscle stretching, muscle weakness


Background: In upper cross syndrome, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, sub occipital, sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major and minor become tight. Whereas, the phasic muscle including lower and middle trapezius, deep neck flexor and serratus anterior muscle weaken.

Objectives: To determine the effects of dry needling on pain, range of motion and function in upper cross syndrome.

Methods: This randomized clinical trial was conducted at Sheikh Zaid Hospital Rahim yar khan. Ethical approval REC/RCRS/20/1049 was obtained from Riphah International University Lahore. Group A was treated with dry needling along with conventional therapy and group B was treated with conventional therapy and 34 subjects were allocated in both groups. The duration of study was of 2 weeks with 1 session per week. The pre and post intervention scores were taken for Visual analogue scale, Neck disability index and neck range of motion. The data was analyzed using SPSS 25.

Results: There was no significant difference (p<0.05) between groups based on demographic data at baseline. The BMI in group A was 24.38(1.14) and in group B 23.19(2.59). The mean difference of VAS in group A was 2.89(1.68) with CI [1.98, 3.76] (p<0.05) and in group B was 2.87(1.03) with CI [2.33,3.42] (p<0.05). The mean difference for NDI in group A was 21.25(10.85) with CI [15.46, 27.03] (p<0.05) and in Group B was 14.68(8.42) with CI [10.20,19.17] (p<0.05). In VAS and NDI between group analysis did not show significant result (p>0.05).

Conclusion: Dry needling along with conventional therapy only improves range of motion but in term of pain and functionality, dry needling and conventional therapy are equally effective.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT04674904

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