The effectiveness of the Impulse Adjusting Instrument® compared to dry needling in the treatment of upper trapezius myofascial trigger points
Aim: There is a paucity in the literature regarding the effectiveness of the Impulse Adjusting Instrument® (IAI) in treating myofascial trigger points (MFTPs) and regarding the effectiveness between dry needling and the IAI in the treatment of MFTPs. There are many limitations and an array of contraindications for dry needling. Therefore, an alternative method should be sought as this will be beneficial to the patient. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the IAI compared to dry needling in the treatment of MFTPs found in the upper trapezius muscle. Methodology: This study was a randomised single-blinded clinical trial. This study consisted of 41 participants between the ages of 18 and 40 who were divided into two groups. The participants were randomly allocated into their respective groups using a blinded allocation method that was drawn up by the statistician. Groups were divided into dry needling (Group one (n=18)) and IAI (Group two (n=23)) treatment groups. Subjective neck pain level was determined using a numerical pain rating scale (NRS). The neck disability index (NDI) subjectively assessed the effect neck pain had on the participants’ activities of daily living before and after treatment. The Patients Global Impression of Change (PGIC) tool was used to determine the participants’ subjective impression of treatment outcomes since the beginning of the treatment. Objective pain pressure thresholds (PPT) were measured with an algometer. Objective cervical range of motion (CROM) in lateral flexion (LF) was measured with a goniometer. Each participant had four visits over a two week period, which included three treatments and a final visit for final measurements. Data was analysed using IBM SPSS version 23. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine the effect on each outcome measure. Directional trends in effectiveness were drawn up using profile plots to assess the direction and trends of the effects. A p value of < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results: Intra-group and inter-group statistical analysis revealed all subjective measurements improved in both groups with no significant differences between the groups. With respect to objective measurements, there was no statistical improvement in LF CROM and dry needling had no improvement in PPT. Impulse Adjusting Instrument trigger point therapy showed an increase in PPT, however, when compared to dry needling there was no statistical difference in PPT. Conclusion: The conclusion for this study states that the trends in each of the outcomes suggest that the IAI is as effective as dry needling for the treatment of MFTPs.