Treatment of Nonspecific Thoracic Spine Pain with Trigger Point Dry Needling and Intramuscular Electrical Stimulation: A Case Series.

Authors: Rock JM, Rainey CE

Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) are a common occurrence in many musculoskeletal issues and have been shown to be prevalent in both subjects with nonspecific low back pain and whiplash associated disorder. Trigger point dry needling (DN) has been shown to reduce pain and improve function in areas such as the cervical and lumbar spine, shoulder, hip, and knee, but has not been investigated in the thoracic spine.  The purpose of this case series was to document the use of DN with intramuscular electrical stimulation (IES) in subjects with nonspecific thoracic spine pain.   In this case series, both subjects demonstrated motor control dysfunctions and pain with P/A pressure in the thoracic spine. With the use of DN and IES, immediate reduction was seen in subjects’ perceived symptoms, and pain free ROM was improved. Extended treatment and follow up was not plausible due to the high pace tempo and demands of their operational training schedule.  With research indicating the influence of MTrPs on a multitude of musculoskeletal issues and the prevalence of thoracic spine pain, further research is indicated for examining the longer term effects of DN and IES for motor control and painful conditions occurring in the thoracic spine.

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