Award Date

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Emilio Puentedura

First Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Second Committee Member

Kai-Yu Ho

Number of Pages



Study Design: Randomized, blinded, controlled cross-over trial with each subject receiving both interventions within a seven-day span.

Objective: To determine if differences occurred in resting- or contraction-thickness of the transversus abdominis (TrA) muscle following application of trigger point dry needling (TPN) of the lumbar multifidus (MF) muscle in asymptomatic subjects.

Background: Recent studies have shown TPN decreases pain in areas throughout the body. The effect of dry needling the MF on low back pain (LBP), and its effect on core stabilization have not been investigated.

Methods: Forty-three healthy individuals who had not experienced LBP in the previous six months were randomly assigned to receive TPN to the MF or a sham intervention at their initial treatment session. All individuals were instructed on how to perform a concentric contraction of the TrA. Resting and contraction thicknesses of the TrA were obtained through real-time ultrasound (US) measurements before and immediately following intervention. As part of this crossover trial, subjects returned 2-7 days after the initial treatment to receive the alternate intervention, and the US measurements were repeated.

Results: Two-way ANOVA revealed a significant interaction for contraction and treatment (p=.002). Simple main effects using paired-samples t-tests and a Bonferroni post-hoc revealed difference in contracted states for needling versus sham (p=.009) and between contracted and resting states for needling (p=.001). There was no significant difference between resting states for needling versus sham.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that TPN to the MF causes a decreased thickness of the TrA at rest and an increased thickness of TrA in contracted state. These findings suggest that TPN could allow for a more efficient contraction of the TrA to help increase core stability.


Medical Specialties; Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

629 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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