Dry Needling and Patients Treatment Expectations

  • End date
    May 5, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Alcala
Updated on 28 June 2022


Objectives The aim of this study is to compare the effects of inducing positive expectations against negative or neutral induced expectations on the activation of the Autonomic Nervous System and the analgesic response, after a dry needling technique in upper trapezius fibers in patients with unspecific neck pain.

Summary Theoretical framework: Dry needling has proven its efficacy for the treatment of myofascial trigger points. Moreover, it has proven its effects over the Central Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Despite that previous studies have researched the role of patient's expectations and their relationship with the results of treatment, there is insufficient information concerning the effects of inducing expectations and the activation of the ANS during the application of widely used therapies, such as dry needling.


The aim of this study will be to research the effects of induced expectations combined with a dry needling technique on the activation of the ANS and on the results of the treatment.

Hypothesis: The induction of a positive expectation shall cause a greater analgesic response associated with a response in the ANS compared to the induction of neutral or negative expectations.

Methods: Patients with neck pain will participated in this randomized clinical trial, which will be randomly assigned into 3 groups in order to receive positive, neutral or negative expectations concerning the treatment, by means of an individual informative talk. All subjects will received treatment using dry needling in the upper trapezius fibers. The main variables measured will be the following: Analogic Visual Scale, Pressure Pain Threshold using a mechanical Force Gage (before and after) and the activation of the ANS measuring the skin conductance, skin temperature, heart rate and breathing rate (monitored for 5 minutes before the intervention, during and 20 minutes afterwards).

Condition Neck Pain; Dry Needling; Motivation
Treatment Positive expectation AND dry needling in the upper trapezius fibers, at the most painful point, Neutral expectation AND dry needling in the upper trapezius fibers, at the most painful point, Negative expectation AND dry needling in the upper trapezius fibers, at the most painful point
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04636879
SponsorUniversity of Alcala
Last Modified on28 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Neck pain
Hiperalgesic point in Upper trapezius muscle

Exclusion Criteria

Pain Irradiation toward upper limb
Psychological disorders
Neuropathic symptoms
Cervical and / or Shoulder Spine Surgery
Clear my responses

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