Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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The Effects of Dry Needling on Quadriceps Muscle Fatigue

Authors: Fatemeh Hasannia


Muscle fatigue is the result of intensive training sessions and leads to limitation of muscle force. It is a physical phenomenon that can impair performance considerably. Athletic injuries most commonly occur in the lower extremity and can have destabilizing effects on balance and postural control. Under intense circumstances, muscle fatigue can lead to multiple impairments. Recovery is therefore important to prevent injuries and maximize performance. Previous research shows that 14.3% of male and 20% of the female population have experienced muscle fatigue. Athletes, in particular, have to undergo intense recovery sessions to avoid reduced performance due to muscle fatigue. Various modalities are used to facilitate recovery from muscle fatigue, including neuromuscular electrical stimulation, contrast water therapy, massage therapy, active recovery, and dry needling. However, the relative effectiveness of each approach has not been fully investigated. Dry needling is an effective approach to treat neuromusculoskeletal conditions involving insertion of a solid needle into the muscles. It is most commonly used to treat trigger points and their symptoms. It can be used as a single modality or in combination with other modalities to reduce pain and increase flexibility and muscle force. The effects of dry needling on muscle recovery has not been studied adequately. The aim of this investigation is, therefore, to explore the effects of a dry needling session on muscle recovery under quadriceps muscle fatigue conditions. A random double-blind clinical trial is carried out among the subjects. Exclusion criteria were previous injuries, fractures, pain in the lower extremity, history of surgery, neuromuscular, vestibular, or cardiovascular disorders. Furthermore, the subjects had no history of receiving dry needling in the previous 3 months, not performed intense physical exercise 48 hours prior to the trial, or contraindication for dry needling. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups, one receiving dry needling treatment and the second entering the placebo group. Tests and measurements were administered randomly. Following the recording of baseline measurements, the fatigue protocol was performed. Dry needling was performed randomly for 1 minute using a fast in-fast out technique, and measurements were made. Isometric peak torque, single leg hop test, Y balance test results show that the mean isometric peak torque decreases with fatigue and is improved after dry needling. It is also evident that the mean single leg hop test decreases after fatigue and is improved after dry needling. Furthermore, the mean values Y balance test decreases with fatigue and is improved after dry needling. The results indicate that using dry needling leads to a significant reduction in fatigue, and variations in maximum torque, performance, and balance in the dry needling group are more considerable compared to the placebo group.

Keywords: quadriceps muscle fatigue, dry needling, isometric peak torque, single-leg hop test

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