An Effective New Physical Therapy Technique for Chronic Muscle Pain
For patients suffering from chronic or severe muscle pain, St. Elizabeth Healthcare offers dry needling, a type of physical therapy that inserts “dry,” non-medicated needles through the skin into a patient’s trigger points.
Myofascial trigger points – most commonly called trigger points – are spots in the muscles that are tight and painful, oftentimes manifesting pain over large areas in the body. Releasing a trigger point through dry needle physical therapy helps to unwind those tight muscle tissues, giving the patient more long-term pain relief than traditional manual physical therapy.
David Stepner, a Physical Therapist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, has practiced traditional manual therapy for 20 years. He saw a need for additional physical therapy techniques such as dry needling that can provide longer-lasting pain relief for patients.
“It’s really satisfying to offer dry needling to patients who will benefit from it,” says David Stepner. “If our patients aren’t getting the results we want from traditional physical therapy, dry needling is an excellent second line of defense.”
Who can Dry Needle Physical Therapy help?
Patients who benefit from dry needling often suffering from one or more of the following conditions:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Hip and thigh pain
- IT band syndrome
- Adhesive Capsulitis
- Muscles and scars surrounding surgical site
- Neck pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator cuff pain
- Shoulder pain/tightness
- Tension headaches
Patients must meet certain criteria for dry needle physical therapy, including not having a needle phobia, being hypersensitive to pain and being on certain medications like blood thinners.
What can you expect with Dry Needle Physical Therapy?
At your first physical therapy appointment, a member of our Physical Therapy team will review your medical history and perform a physical exam. The goal is to determine a baseline of your pain and the cause of your symptoms. Your physical therapist will then design a customized therapy program for you, which will include an at-home exercise program and if necessary, traditional manual therapy sessions to help maximize your movement and minimize your pain.
Patients who still have pain after traditional physical therapy sessions are good candidates for dry needling. Patients typically receive one to four dry needling treatments. Although they might initially be sore from the trigger points releasing, the needle relieves the pressure and helps to relax the muscle area.
David Stepner says the results speak for themselves.
“I have patients who never need to come back!” he says. “I also have dry needle patients who come back for help with a different part of their body. Dry needling has really opened doors for people in pain and helped them achieve longer-lasting pain relief.”
David is certified in dry needling through the International Academy of Orthopedic Medicine and performs dry needling at St. Elizabeth Physical Therapy in Burlington, KY.
If you are interested in learning more about physical therapy and dry needling, please call (859) 212-4200 to schedule an initial evaluation with our physical therapy team.