Muscle Activity and Kinematic Changes With Dry Needling


This study assesses the effects of dry needling with electrical stimulation to the low back on muscle activity and changes in movement. The investigators hypothesize that dry needling and electrical stimulation will elicit changes in muscle activity as well as changes in movement.

Full Title of Study: “Changes in Muscle Activity, Squat, and Gait Kinematics After Dry Needling Treatment of the Low Back: A Pilot Study”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: N/A
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: August 2020

Detailed Description

This study will utilize a Vicon motion capture system in conjunction with a Noraxon wireless surface electromyography system to analyze movements and muscle activity of each participant pre and post needling.


  • Other: Dry needling with electrical stimulation
    • Paravertebral dry needling to L3, 4, 5 multifidi. Electrical stimulation will be applied through the needles for up to 10 minutes total or to the participant’s tolerance.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Dry needling with electrical stimulation
    • Use of dry needles (this is the generic name for sterile, solid filament needles) are inserted into the lumbar multifidi. Intramuscular electrical stimulation will then be applied by attaching a six-lead electrical stimulation unit to the needles. Electrical stimulation will be applied through the needles at the participant’s desired frequency (between 4-6 Hz) and for up to 10 minutes total.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Muscle activity changes
    • Time Frame: pre/ post dry needling treatment. Participants’ EMG will be recorded over a series of movements of the lumbar spine, will immediately be dry needled with electrical stimulation for up to 10 minutes, then will be immediately reassessed. Total time 2 hrs
    • activity measured and quantified from the amplitude (mV) of the surface EMG electrodes
  • Kinematic changes
    • Time Frame: Participants kinematics will be recorded over a series of movements of the lumbar spine, will immediately be dry needled with electrical stimulation for up to 10 minutes, then will be immediately reassessed. Total time 2 hrs
    • Measurement of lumbopelvic angles during range of motion activities

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • English speaking individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 years old
  • without current complaint of low back pain
  • no history of low back or lower extremity surgery

Exclusion Criteria

  • individuals with current complaint of low back pain,
  • lumbar radicular symptoms
  • history of low back surgery or lower extremity surgery
  • pregnancy or planning to become pregnant,
  • currently taking immunosuppressant or anticoagulation use with INR not within therapeutic range
  • needle phobia
  • osteoporosis will be excluded

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 60 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: April Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Clinical Instructor – Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport
  • Overall Official(s)
    • April J Brown, DPT, Principal Investigator, LSU Health Science Center Shreveport
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • April J Brown, DPT, 318-813-2970,


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