Table 1

Essential characteristics of the included studies

First author and yearNo. of participants (male/female)Age (years) Duration of symptoms
Intervention groupControl groupMPS regionsIntervention groupControl groupControl interventionStimulation pointsSessionsOutcome measures
Goddard 200229 18 (3/15)35.49±10.6334.53±6.78Jaw musclesNeedles inserted to depth of 2–4 mm at sham pointsLI41Pain intensity: VAS
Ilbuldu 200427 40 (0/40)35.29±9.1832.35±6.88Upper trapezius38.48±31.94/month36.95±33.65/monthPlacebo laser: machine turned on and set, but no beam appliedMTrP12NHP; PPT; ROM; Pain tolerance level: VAS
Shen 200726 15 (1/14)45.2±12.341.8±14.9Masticatory musclesNon-penetrating needleLI41Pain intensity: NRS; Mechanical pressure pain: VAS; headache: NRS
Chou 200925 20 (8/12)37.7±11.333.3±7.7Upper trapezius5.9±3.3/month5.8±2.8/monthNon-penetrating needleTE5, LI111Pain intensity: NRS; EPN
Shen 200924 28 (0/28)36.94±13.8244.83±11.61Jaw musclesNon-penetrating needleLI41Pain intensity: NRS; Jaw/face tightness: NRS; Mechanical pressure pain: VAS; Headache: NRS
Srbely 201030 40 (21/19)48.2±15.245.4±17.8ShoulderNeedle penetrated normal tissueMTrP1PPT
Sun 201011 34 (10/24)NeckSubcutaneous needling to depth of approximately 2 mm without manual stimulationGB20, TE14, SI36Pain intensity: VAS; SF-36; ROM
Tsai 201023 35 (14/21)46.4±12.241.5±10.4Upper trapezius7.5±3.9/month6.8±4.5/monthSubcutaneous needlingMTrP1Pain intensity: NRS; PPT; ROM
Diraçoǧlu 201222 50 (7/43)33.00±12.7035.88±9.60Temporomandibular muscles
  1. Needling applied to areas away from the trigger points

  2. Subcutaneous needling

MTrPPain intensity: VAS; PPT; Unassisted jaw-opening without pain
Chen 201321 10 (–)Upper trapeziusSubcutaneous needlingBL40, GB342Pain intensity: VAS; ROM
Tekin 201320 39 (8/31)42.9±10.942.9±10.9Upper back63.5±50.7/month57.9±48.3/monthNon-penetrating needleMTrP6Pain intensity: VAS; SF-36
Santos 201428 22 (13/9)38.5±5.125.8±3.0SpineNo interventionMTrP10Pain intensity: VAS; WHOQOL-BREF
Couto 201419 52 (0/52)35.84±5.0233.52±5.07 Sham EA device:(1) Electrical connection between stimulator and patient broken(2) Current prevented from passing through electrodesMTrP8Pain intensity: VAS; PPT; SF-12
Mejuto-Vázquez 201418 17 (8/9)25±424±7Upper trapezius3.1±0.8/day3.4±0.7/dayNo interventionMTrP1Pain intensity: NRS; PPT; ROM
Aranha 201517 40 (0/40)Upper trapeziusNeedles inserted 1 cm distal to acupuncture pointsGB20, GB21, LI4, LR3, MTrP8Pain intensity: VAS; ROM
Mueller 201516 17 (0/17)26.33±3.8126.13±6.13Upper trapezius6.11±5.11/year7.00±4.14/yearNeedles inserted 1 cm distal to acupuncture pointsGB20, GB21, LI4, LR3, MTrP8Pain intensity: VAS; MTrP area; strain ratio
  • Data are presented as mean±SD.

  • EPN, endplate noise; MPS, myofascial pain syndrome; MTrP, myofascial trigger point; NHP, Nottingham Health Profile; NRS, numerical rating scale; PPT, pressure pain threshold; ROM, range of motion; SF-12, 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey; SF-36, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey; WHOQOL-BREF, Short Form of WHO Quality of Life Questionnaire.