I have been battling with chronic neck pain for the past 5 years. One year ago I had surgery on my neck thinking and hoping this would relieve my pain. Unfortunately, my symptoms did not resolve. I have been trying anything and everything to relieve my pain. I was referred to Mike for dry needle therapy and my life has sincerely changed since my appointments. After three 1-hour appointments I have no pain. I have been taking medication, and now I do not take anything. Mike has given me back my life with this therapy. He also showed me some stretching and other exercises to continue my therapy, but I have not been back.
“Last fall I injured my neck and after having an MRI I was told that I had 2 bulging discs in the lower part of my neck. I debated about the different treatments and decided on a new therapy called dry needling. At first I was apprehensive about this new treatment, but I had immediate relief after the first treatment and after 3 treatments was pain-free. I would do this again and am amazed at the results.”
“I have been a runner for approximatley the past 17 years. I used to run 8-10 miles everyday, which is now reduced to 6 miles a day several days a week. About 6 months ago I developed pain in my back, left hip, and hamstring area. I tried chiropractic and massage therapy but the symptoms did not resolve. I also was referred to physical therapy for ASTYM, which did not resolve the symptoms. A friend of mine mentioned trigger point relief after the first treatmentand also noticed an immediate improvement in my flexibility of my hamstrings in the exact spot that I was having trouble with. I was also having pain in an abdominal muscle that, which also responded positively to dry needling. I think dry needling is the best thing ever! I continue to run but stretch and perform strengthening exercises that Mike showed me to prevent trigger points from returning. I would recommend dry needling to anyone!”
Trigger Point Dy Needling
What is dry needling?
Dry needling or intramuscular manual therapy (IMT) is a neurophysiological evidence-based treatment used to treat myofascial pain that uses a dry, solid filament needle, without medication. When inserted into a myofascial trigger point, the goal is to release or inactivate the trigger points, which relieves pain.
How does dry needling work?
There are mechanical and biochemical effects. Based on pioneering studies by Dr. Jay Shah and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, we know that inserting a needle into trigger points can cause favorable biochemical changes, which assist in reducing pain. It is essential to elicit so-called twitch responses, which are spinal cord reflexes. Getting local twitch responses with dry needling is the first step in breaking the pain cycle.
What types of problems can be treated with dry needling?
Dry needling can be used for a variety of musculoskeletal problems where muscles are thought to be the primary contributing factor to the symptoms. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, neck, back, and shoulder pain; arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow); headache, including migraines and tension-type headaches; jaw pain; and buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms). The treatment of muscles has the greatest effect on reducing pain mechanisms in the nervous system.
Is the procedure painful?
Most patients do not feel the insertion of the needle. The local twitch response elicits a very brief (< 1 second) painful response. Some patients describe this as a little electrical shock; others feel it more like a cramping sensation. Again, the therapeutic response occurs with the elicitation of local twitch responses, and that is a desirable reaction.
Are the needles sterile?
Yes, we only use sterile disposable needles.
What side effects can I expect after the treatment?
Patients may report being sore after the procedure. The soreness is described as muscle soreness over the area treated and into the areas of referred symptoms. Typically, the soreness lasts a few hours.
What should I do after having the procedure done?
Our recommendations vary depending on the amount of soreness you have and on the individual response to the treatment. Recommendations may include applying heat or ice over the area, gentle stretches, and modifications of activities. The procedure will not prevent you from doing your daily activities.
How long does it take for the procedure to work?
Typically, it takes from one to a few visits for a positive reaction to take place. Again, we are trying to cause mechanical and biochemical changes without any pharmacological means. Therefore, we are looking for a cumulative response to achieve a certain threshold after which the pain cycle is disturbed.
Why is my doctor not familiar with dry needling?
In the United States, dry needling is a relatively new method for treating myofascial pain, and not everyone is aware of the effective modality. Feel free to inform your doctor about this new treatment option. It is upon all of us to educate others about new and innovative ways to treat pain.
Where does dry needling fit in the entire rehabilitation program?
Generally speaking, dry needling is the modality of choice when it comes to treating patients with myofascial pain in our clinic. Dry needling is needed in the beginning in order to break the pain cycle. Once that is achieved, other treatment options are introduced, such as stretching, strengthening, stabilization.
Once I am feeling better, how often do I need to come back to maintain my progress?
The musculoskeletal system is under constant pressure from gravity, stress, work, etc. A regular exercise program combined with good posture can prevent a reoccurrence of many problems. If the pain comes back, “tune-ups” may be necessary.
- Nonspecific neck/LBP
- Cervical/lumbar radiculopathy
- Tension type and migraine headaches
- Shoulder girdle pain
- Frozen Shoulder
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Atheletic overuse injuries (runners!)
- Patient with needle phobia
- Over an area of a limb with lymphedema
- Abnormal bleeding tendency
- Vascular disease
- Compromised immune system