Background: Dry needling has been found to be effective in various myofascial pain syndromes and musculoskeletal conditions. However, there is a need to evaluate the effects of dry needling techniques in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Hence, the objective of this systematic review was to identify and critically review the evidence on the short-term and long-term effects of dry needling techniques in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Methods: Databases such as Pubmed, Cochrane library, and Scopus were searched from their inception to July 2019 for randomized controlled trials using dry needling as an active intervention against control/sham/placebo treatment in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The quality of the selected studies was analyzed using Cochrane tool for assessment of risk of bias. Results: Out of 247 studies, 9 studies were included in the review. The qualitative synthesis for myofascial trigger point dry needling showed contradictory results. The mean difference for periosteal stimulation was significant on pain and function immediately post-treatment (p < 0.00001). The mean difference for intramuscular electrical stimulation on pain was significant (p = 0.03), but marked heterogeneity was found among the studies. Conclusion: Good quality studies on myofascial trigger point needling and intramuscular electrical stimulation are required to evaluate their effects in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The review demonstrates a moderate-quality evidence on the short-term effect of periosteal stimulation technique on pain and function in knee osteoarthritis. Future studies comparing the effects of various techniques of dry needling with different dosages and long-term follow up need to be conducted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Complementary and Manual Therapy
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Complementary and alternative medicine