Exercise Plus Dry Needling or Kinesio Taping May Improve Pain, Disability in Patients With Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Closeup of a needle and hands of physiotherapist doing a dry needling.
Investigators assessed the efficacy of kinesio taping or dry needling vs exercise alone for treatment of myofascial pain syndrome in the trapezius muscle.

The addition of dry needling or kinesio taping to a physical exercise program improved pain and disability outcomes better than exercise alone in patients with myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), according to study findings published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

In the single-blind study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04521127), patients with MPS were randomly assigned to receive exercise only (n=30; age, 44.73±12.86 years), kinesio taping and exercise (n=26; age, 43.73±13.02 years), or dry needling and exercise (n=32; age, 46.53±13.69 years). Outcome assessments included the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score, Pressure Pain Threshold (PPT) measurement, Neck Disability Index (NDI) measurement, and Global Perceived Effect Scale (GPE) measurement. These measurements were taken twice at baseline and once at the end of the second week.

The combination of kinesio taping and exercise was associated with significant improvements in the PPT (1.61±1.25), VAS (-2.66±1.24), and NDI (-7.08±6.24) scores (P <.001 for all). Dry needling plus exercise was also associated with significant improvements in the PPT (1.30±1.13), VAS (-3.34±1.40), and NDI (-10.63±7.80) scores (P <.001 for all). In contrast, the control group experienced no improvement in the VAS (0.10±1.39; P =.677) and NDI (-0.83±4.91; P =.482) scores, but there was a significant decrease in PPT scores (-0.98±1.92; P =.014).

Limitations of the study included its small sample size, single-blinded design, and lack of a placebo group. Additionally, the researchers did not follow the efficacy of treatments over a longer-term period, potentially limiting the interpretability of the findings in regard to long-term management.

In addition to the main findings, the researchers noted that while similar improvements were observed between dry needling and kinesio taping, study results also suggest that kinesio taping “treatment may be a safer option since it is a noninvasive method.”


Yasar MF, Yaksi E, Kurul R, Alisik T, Seker Z. Comparison of dry needling and kinesio taping methods in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome: a single blinded randomised controlled study. Int J Clin Pract. 2021;75(10):e14561. doi:10.1111/ijcp.14561