Condition category
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
The aim of this study is to find out whether dry needling of the lower trapezius muscle reduces head and neck pain. Dry needling involves inserting a “dry” needle without medication through the skin into the muscle. The study looks at whether dry needling is more effective when performed in the most hyperalgesic (sensitive to pain) area than when it is performed in another area.

Who can participate?
Patients with head and neck pain for 3 months

What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to one of two groups. One group is treated with dry needling in the hyperalgesic zone in the lower trapezius muscle. The other group receives treatment with dry needling in a non-painful area in the same muscle. The participants’ pain and degree of disability are assessed before, immediately after, a week and one month after receiving the treatment.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Patients may benefit from the positive effects of treatment with dry needling. The study may demonstrate the importance of treatment with dry needling in the area of muscle injury associated with the patient's problem. The most important risk associated with dry needling is a certain tenderness after the puncture.

Where is the study run from?
University of Alcalá (Spain)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
January to December 2011

Who is the main contact?
Dr Daniel Pecos-Martin

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Daniel Pecos-Martin


Contact details

c/Camilo José Cela
53 Portal A-1ºC
Alcalá de Henares

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Effectiveness of treatment with dry needling lower trapezius muscle in patients with head and neck pain


Study hypothesis

Treatment with dry needling lower trapezius muscle improves pain and disability associated with neck pain patients. Treatment is most effective when performed in the most hyperalgesic area of this muscle and associated with the patient's pain.

Ethics approval

Ethics Committee of Hospital Principe de Asturias, 10/01/2010, ref: 28/2009

Study design

Randomized double-blind clinical trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a patient information sheet


Head and neck pain


Patients in the experimental group underwent a session of dry needling in the most hyperalgesic lower trapezius muscle with an acupuncture needle of 2.5 centimeters long and 0.25 millimeters thick. Technique was used as a therapeutic procedure.

Patients in the control group received the same treatment but at a distance from the point of that muscle hyperalgesic.

Both groups were followed for one month.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

1. The differences between groups in pain sensation the patient assesed using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). This scale was completed by patients before, week and month after surgery.
2. The problem associated with head and neck

Secondary outcome measures

1. The pain threshold to pressure measured with a pressure algometer before, immediately after, week and month after surgery. The most hyperalgesic zone in lower trapezius muscle was measured.
2. The degree of disability associated with neck pain with the questionnaire Northwick Park neck pain before and one month after the intervention.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Adult
2. Having pain in head and neck regions for three months
3. Present the lower trapezius muscle PGM3 active
4. Not having suffered any whiplash
5. Not having received invasive treatment in the last six months
6. Signing the consent form and accept the conditions of the study

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Not accepted the conditions of the study and gave written informed consent
2. Those whose head and neck pain was shorter than three months
3. No active file PGM3 lower trapezius muscle
4. Those who had suffered some whiplash
5. Those diagnosed with migraine or tension headache
6. They had received invasive treatment in the last six months
7. They were afraid of needles
8. They were under pharmacological treatment with anticoagulants

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

c/Camilo José Cela, 53 Portal A-1ºC
Alcalá de Henares

Sponsor information


Alcalá University (Spain)

Sponsor details

Physiotherapy and Pain Group
Alcalá de Henares / Madrid

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Universidad de Alcalá

Alternative name(s)

University of Alcalá, UAH

Funding Body Type

government organisation

Funding Body Subtype

government non-federal



Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2015 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

22/06/2017: Plain English summary added.