First it seems like the needles were left in the multifidus a long time (10 minutes). Secondly, great to see something, anything happening at the multifidus with the deep techniques. The increased thickness in the multifidus could be really important for people with low back pain. There’s been research that’s been out for a while that shows people with low back pain activate the multifidus later than those without. However, some of the research in the past couple of years may point out that the multifidus activation delay of 1 milisecond (or whatever it was) isn’t enough to be clinically relevant. We don’t know yet. I also know that dry needling is highly controversial in the literature at the moment but anticipate a flood of research to come on in the next few years due to the increasing popularity amongst clinicians. I do use it on pt’s with low back pain even though we don’t full know what the effects really are. Experiences tells me there is some sort of change in pain perception that allows us to load our patients easier but the verdict is far from settled. This is exciting to show that at least “something” is happening locally at the site of insertion.

Original Article here: The immediate effect of dry needling on multifidus muscles’ function in healthy individuals.

Abstract
BACKGROUND:
Dry needling of muscles is mainly used for the management of pain in musculoskeletal disorders. Yet, the association between dry needling and motor performance of muscles is still unclear.

OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the immediate effect of dry needling on lumbar multifidus muscles’ function in healthy subjects.

METHODS:
Twenty-eight volunteers were divided randomly into: study group (13 subjects) and control group (15 subjects) who underwent no intervention. Study group received dry needling to the lumbar multifidus muscles using a deep insertion technique with 4 needles (2 on each side of the spine). The needles were left in situ for 10 minutes. Ultrasound imaging was used to measure multifidus muscles’ thickness, pre and post-procedure during rest in a prone position and during contralateral active straight leg extension.

RESULTS:
Significant difference was found in the percentage of change of muscle activation post needling between groups on the right side at level L4-5. A slight increase in the percentage of muscle activity, post procedure was observed in the dry needling group compared with the control group, although not significant in other segments examined.

CONCLUSION:
An improvement of back muscle function following dry needling procedure in healthy individuals was found. This implies that dry needling might stimulate motor nerve fibers and as such increase muscle activity.

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