Patients Find Pain Relief With Dry Needling

Published on: 2020/09/11


It may sound counter-intuitive - sticking needles in your body to relieve pain, but for Comprehensive Rehab patients who’ve experienced Myofascial Trigger Point Dry Needling, the experience is life-changing.

“I felt a difference almost immediately,” said Angela Jones. After a fall necessitated brain surgery, Jones said she began having serious numbness in her hands and feet.

“The numbness was absolutely driving me insane. It felt like my feet and hands had fallen asleep,” she explained. Her doctors initially recommended neck surgery.

“I was really, really nervous about that,” she said. Her son had previously undergone dry needling treatment, and Jones decided to give it a try.

“I was at my very last option, and, truthfully, I was a naysayer. I didn’t think anything was going to work, but, literally, I felt a major difference after just one session. I couldn’t believe it.”

Hard muscle knots targeted during treatment

Myofascial Trigger Point Dry Needling targets hard muscle “knots.” During a dry needling session, very thin dry needles are pushed through the skin and electrical stimulation is used to target painful muscles.

The needles don’t inject fluid into the body, which is why the term “dry” is used.

“I was nervous about the needles at first,” admits Jones. “But it wasn’t painful, it was just a different sensation. I thought it felt good because I could feel my very tight muscles loosening.”

Though skeptical about the procedure at first, Jones is now a convert. “It just works. I’m still shocked when I talk about it that it worked as well as it did. I’ve told so many people about it.”

She knows dry needling saved her from ongoing pain. “I honestly wouldn’t have had the neck surgery. I would have just lived with the pain, but to find a way to get complete relief is amazing.”

Robert Stickell also understands the benefits of dry needling. “I had major back surgery about 3 years ago, and I developed a lot of issues with pain management after that. My muscles were so tight because of the scar tissue.”

When Comprehensive Rehab physical therapist Michael Gibson suggested dry needling, Stickell said, “I was game.”

“I’d gone to Comprehensive Rehab before after I had a knee replacement, and I knew what they were able to do for me then. I swear by Comprehensive Rehab and Mike’s ability to work with me, so when he mentioned dry needling, I was all for it,” explained Stickell.

“I don’t have a fear of needles, and I’d been considering trying something along the lines of acupuncture,” he said. 

After several dry needling sessions, Stickell said he started noticing his mobility was increasing and his posture improving. 

“With all of the scar tissue in my back, I have a pretty good curvature when I try to walk. Dry needling has improved my vertical positioning,” he noted. “I’m sold on it 100%.”

“If you’ve got pain and nothing else is working, why not give it a try? You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Stickell. “For me, it was all gain.”

'Your muscles do get a workout'

Patient Clint Williams also knows the pain relief dry needling can bring. “I have residual nerve damage on my right side which affects my arm, neck, and upper back quite a bit,” said Williams who had a spine fusion on his 5th and 6th vertebrae.

“You kind of cringe at first when you think of needles, but the process doesn’t hurt. It’s just a weird feeling,” he explained.

“It’s strange because you don’t always feel it where it’s happening. I’ll have the needles placed at the base of my skull to help with migraines, and it’s weird because you feel a sensation wind from the front of your skull to the back,” said Williams.

The unusual feeling was worth it for the relief. “I have such tension, but it was nice to have my neck relaxed afterward,” noted Williams.

The number of dry needling treatments a patient may need varies from only a handful of sessions to more. Williams has received dry needling treatment once a week for the past two years. “It’s the only day I can plan on being able to run errands because I know my muscles will be feeling great.”

Referring to a computer sequence for rebooting, Williams said he once heard the dry needling process called “a control-alt-delete for your muscles.”

“Your muscles do get a workout. There are times when you’ll be pretty worn out after a session. It’s like you went to the gym for hours,” said Williams.

Needles may be placed deeply or shallowly, for short or long periods of time, depending upon what type of pain is being treated

Anyone whose range of motion is limited by muscle tightness or scar tissue may benefit from dry needling.

“At Comprehensive Rehab, the staff is excellent. I’ve tried other places but didn’t get the results as I have here. The staff is friendly and they take the time to explain things. You get the sense that, to them, it’s more than a job,” said Williams.

Comprehensive Rehab has offices in Clinton, Muscatine, Maquoketa, and Davenport. For more information about dry needling, contact Comprehensive Rehab