Laurie's Blogs.


Jun 2021

Trigger point therapy for hip pain

Let’s talk about treating hip pain!  Unilateral hip osteoarthritis (OA) can be problematic in many ways.  A recent human research article evaluated the effectiveness of dry needling on pain, hip muscle strength and function in patients with hip OA.


Ceballos-Laita L, Jiménez-del-Barrio S, Javier Marín-Zurdo J,  et al.  Effectiveness of Dry Needling Therapy on Pain, Hip Muscle Strength, and Physical Function in Patients with Hip Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. VOLUME 102, ISSUE 5, P959-966, MAY 01, 2021.


Essentially, they took (human) patients with unilateral hip pain and randomly allocated them into a dry needling group, sham needle group or a control group.  


The Dry Needling group (and sham needling group) each received 3 treatment sessions where 3 active myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) were treated with dry needling (or a sham needle procedure).  Treatment was applied in active MTrPs of the iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, and gluteus minimus muscle.


The outcome measures were a scoring of physical functions, a timed up and go test, a distance walking test, a visual analog pain assessment, and isometric force for hip muscles. 


Results: Significant reduction in hip pain and significant improvements in physical function and hip muscle strength were seen in the DN group compared with the sham and control groups.


Conclusions: DN therapy in active MTrPs of the hip muscles reduced pain and improved hip muscle strength and physical function in patients with hip OA. DN in active MTrPs of the hip muscles should be considered for the management of hip OA.


Where do you take this into your canine practice?


Well, if you do needling, then try needling your hip OA patients.  


If you don’t needle, then it’s fair to use other techniques to address MTrPs – laser, TENS, electro-point finders, and manual techniques (pressure techniques, myofascial techniques, or massage techniques).


My favourite trigger points to work on in the canine hip OA patient are the deep gluteal… in fact multiple points in the deep gluteal seems to do great things – needles, laser, myofascial techniques, etc.  Laser on iliopsoas.  Pressure techniques to the tensor fascia lata.


Try it!!!  And on that note, do some great things this week!

Cheers,  Laurie