My Testimony about Dry Needling
- After earning my Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from Emory University I felt compelled to further my training to acquire skill sets that would move me into an elite category of Physical Therapists. As my research ensued, I happened across testimony of what seemed to be impossible results from procedure known as dry needling. These claims intrigued me to the point of enrolling myself into the dry needling certification program. During the certification training I volunteered to participate as patient. I was then experiencing pain and limited range of motion in my lower back. After 3 years of administering my learned techniques I could only bend to the point of my fingertips touching my mid-shin area on myself. Skeptical of any progress to be made I demonstrated my limited range of motion to the class and hopped up on the table ready to be the next human pin cushion. The treatment consisted of needles being placed into the areas responsible for my lower back pain. The needle placement was surprising as it targeted compensatory areas rather than just the point of pain. I experienced mild achiness, soreness, and the sensation of light cramping. Once the needles were removed it was the moment of truth. I stood up from the table and touched my toes for the first time in 3 long years. I wasn’t prepared for this immediate and amazing result. On that day I embraced dry needling as an incredibly effective and revolutionary physical therapy treatment. Dry needling has become a critical and necessary tool in my practice. It allows me to provide immediate, effective, and lasting results to my clients.
Why did I get this result?
My main injury was 3 years before. My body had never quit guarding the joints around the injury to allow me to move normally again. The movement compensation was keeping the pain active. Dry needling released the tension in the surrounding areas so my body could re-learn to move appropriately.
- This personal experience convinced me to learn more about dry needling and the potential it offers. I am pleased to offer this service to my clients at Topflight Physical Therapy.
Persistent Neck or Upper back pain
Dry needling can help reduce painful migraines and release the tense tender muscles around the shoulders or neck.
When combined with manual therapy and therapeutic exercise, dry needling works very well with plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. We have seen many cases that haven’t improved with traditional methods but were fixed with our approach.
Low back and hip pain
- Dry needling in this region helps restore motion in these areas which most people have lost or “forgot” after an acute pain episode. The therapist also looks to correct the areas of weakness to ensure the problem does not return.
- Tennis Elbow
- Hip flexor tendonitis
- Knee and IT band pain
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Hamstring or calf muscle tear/strain
- Ankle sprain
- What is dry needling?
- Dry needling uses fine acupuncture needles inserted into muscle trigger points to allow those areas of dysfunction to relax.
- Why is my doctor not familiar with dry needling?
- In the US, dry needling is a relatively new method for treating myofascial pain and not everyone is aware of this effective modality. Feel free to inform your doctor about this treatment option. It is upon of all of us to educate others about new and innovative ways to treat pain.
- What types of problems can be treated with dry needling?
- Dry needling can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Muscles are thought to be a primary contributing factor to the symptoms. Such conditions include, but are not limited to neck, back, shoulder, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), migraine and tension-type headaches, jaw pain, buttock pain, and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms). The treatment of the muscles has a profound effect on reducing the pain mechanisms in the nervous system.
- How does dry needling work?
- Dry needling works on muscle trigger points. Trigger points are characterized as active or latent trigger points. These are usually taut bands of muscle fibers which can cause or refer pain. These trigger points are usually created from limb overuse, compensation for other weak musculature, poor posture, or injury.
- How does dry needling relax muscle?
- Please look at the picture below. When a needle is inserted into a trigger point, the sensory nerve fiber messages are calmed. This calming effect feeds back to the spinal cord and communicates with the motor nerve fibers. The motor nerve fibers are responsible for maintaining a certain amount of tension within a muscle fiber. As a result, the number of discharges from the motor nerve is reduced and thus muscle relaxation occurs.
- What side effects can I expect after the treatment?
- Most patients report being sore after the procedure is completed. The soreness is described as muscle soreness over the area treated and into the area of referred symptoms. Typically, the soreness lasts from a few hours to two days. When dry needling is being used for treating sciatica or low back pain, the patient may experience minor cramping or tight-like sensations in the leg or legs. This usually occurs a few hours after treatment and considered normal.
- Are you trained specifically for dry needling?
- Yes, Dr. Hinkle underwent additional training to perform dry needling in the American Dry Needling Institute under Dr. Ma.