Including Dry Needling More Cost Effective Than Exercise Alone For Shoulder Pain

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Shoulder impingement is the most common cause of shoulder pain and is commonly treated with Physical Therapy interventions including upper body strengthening and manual therapy.  Dry needling is gaining traction in both clinical practice and the medical research as an effective treatment option for musculoskeletal pain.  When combined with other forms of manual therapy, including joint mobilization and manipulation, and exercise, dry needling offers patients an effective choice for their symptoms.  A recent article examined the cost effectiveness of adding dry needling treatments to exercise for patients with shoulder impingement.

Fifty patients with subacromial impingement were randomized to shoulder strengthening (twice per day x 5 weeks) or shoulder strengthening and dry needling (Arias-Buria, J. Pain Med. 2018).  Patients undergoing dry needling treatments received dry needling to the shoulder complex on their 2nd and 4th Physical Therapy sessions.  Patients in the exercise only group made more visits to their physicians and received higher amounts of outside treatments for their symptoms.  In addition, patients in this group lost more time from work and reported lower satisfaction levels than the dry needling and exercise group.  Authors concluded dry needling was a cost effective treatment for shoulder pain due to its' ability to reduce time lost from work.

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