Surface Electromyographic Activity of the Upper Trapezius Before and After a Single Dry Needling Session in Female Office Workers With Trapezius Myalgia

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Myofascial pain can be accompanied by a disturbed surface electromyographic (sEMG) activity. Nevertheless, the effect of myofascial treatment techniques, such as dry needling (DN), on the sEMG activity is poorly investigated. Several DN studies also emphasize the importance of eliciting local twitch responses (LTRs) during treatment. However, studies investigating the added value of LTRs are scarce. Therefore, the aims of this study were first to evaluate the effect of DN on the sEMG activity of myalgic muscle tissue, compared with no intervention (rest), and secondly to identify whether this effect is dependent of eliciting LTRs during DN.


Twenty-four female office workers with work-related trapezius myalgia were included. After completion of a typing task, changes in sEMG activity were evaluated after a DN treatment of the upper trapezius, compared with rest.


The sEMG activity increased after rest and after DN, but this increase was significantly smaller 10 minutes after DN, compared with rest. These differences were independent whether LTRs were elicited or not.


Dry needling leads to a significantly lower increase in sEMG activity of the upper trapezius, compared with no intervention, after a typing task. This difference was independent of eliciting LTRs.

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