Dry Needling for Management of Pain in the Upper Quarter and Craniofacial Region

  • David M. KietrysEmail author
  • Kerstin M. Palombaro
  • Jeffrey S. Mannheimer
Myofascial Pain (R Gerwin, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Myofascial Pain


Dry needling is a therapeutic intervention that has been growing in popularity. It is primarily used with patients that have pain of myofascial origin. This review provides background about dry needling, myofascial pain, and craniofacial pain. We summarize the evidence regarding the effectiveness of dry needling. For patients with upper quarter myofascial pain, a 2013 systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled studies reported that dry needling is effective in reducing pain (especially immediately after treatment) in patients with upper quarter pain. There have been fewer studies of patients with craniofacial pain and myofascial pain in other regions, but most of these studies report findings to suggest the dry needling may be helpful in reducing pain and improving other pain related variables such as the pain pressure threshold. More rigorous randomized controlled trials are clearly needed to more fully elucidate the effectiveness of dry needling.


Dry needling Myofascial pain Myofascial trigger point Craniofacial pain Orofacial pain Temporomandibular joint dysfunction 



myofascial trigger point


dry needling


craniofacial pain


temporomandibular joint


temporomandibular joint disorder


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Dr. David M. Kietrys, Dr. Kerstin Palombaro, and Dr. Jeffrey S. Mannheimer each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Kietrys
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kerstin M. Palombaro
    • 2
  • Jeffrey S. Mannheimer
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation and Movement SciencesRutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Health Related ProfessionsStratfordUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Physical Therapy EducationWidener UniversityChesterUSA
  3. 3.Delaware Valley Physical Therapy AssociatesLawrencevilleUSA
  4. 4.Rehabilitation and Regenerative MedicineNew YorkUSA

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