Category: Therapy

dry needling for pain

Dry Needling for Pain Relief: A New Tool for Your Pain Toolkit

Believing that needles can actually REDUCE one’s pain may sound far-fetched to some of you.

We don’t typically think of something we associate with getting shots as something that can reduce or remove our pain. However, dry needling is helping a lot of pain sufferers feel better – and we now offer this pain relief technique at Life Care!

With the addition of our new doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Betel Aklilu, we now have a practitioner experienced in dry needling. We sat down with Dr. A to get answers to the types of questions you might have about dry needling so we can educate our patients on the technique.

 

Dry needling explained

For starters, the needles are dry. The reason the needles are described as “dry” is that they do not involve injecting any type of medication into the skin. Thin, solid needles are inserted into the skin at the myofascial trigger points of muscles. Specifically, the needles penetrate the taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. The purpose of the needle placement is to create a relaxation response and increase range of motion within the muscle group.

Dr. A got interested in dry needling because she saw it as a simple, non-invasive yet effect way to improve pain.

“I had seen other providers use it to enhance healing of their patients, and I wanted to do the same. I have always been passionate about finding holistic, safe, effective treatments for treating pain. Dry needling is widespread in Europe and other parts of the world but it is still fairly underutilized in the United States. Dry needling therapy treats soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) dysfunction and has proven remarkably effective in treating a vast number of myofascial syndromes,” shared Dr. A.

The needles used to perform dry needling are similar to acupuncture needles – but be clear, dry needling is very different than acupuncture. Acupuncturists insert needles to release endorphins and affect the nervous system, aligning a person’s “chi” or healing energy. Dry needling is really about muscles – and relieving the tightness and pain with needle placement.

“This therapy is based on palpatory findings and an understanding of anatomy, physiology, and neurology. Thus, it is a separate system of healing unrelated to the laws and philosophy of acupuncture,” said Dr. A.

 

Good candidates for dry needling

Certain pain conditions respond better to dry needling than others. Practitioners believe dry needling can be effective for the following conditions:

  • Neck, back and shoulder pain (i.e., whiplash, frozen shoulder)
  • Arm pain, such as tennis elbow
  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Hip, buttock and leg pain (i.e., sciatica)
  • Muscle spasms

Dry needle therapy cannot be done on areas of open wounds or over a pacemaker. It is not recommended during high-risk pregnancies or for patients with needle phobias or genetic bleeding disorders.

 

Reasons to try dry needling

For starters, it has proven to decrease pain in folks who are candidates for the technique. Dr. A believes in trying it as a part of a patient’s overall treatment plan.

“When dry needle therapy is coupled with chiropractic adjustments, patients feel relief faster and their adjustments typically hold longer because we have impacted both the musculoskeletal and nervous system,” she said.

RELATED: Every New Chiropractic Patient Needs to Know This

By releasing the tightness in muscles, patients can move more freely and experience increased mobility. Dr. A, like Dr. Sharman, is always in favor of getting patients back into the activities they love as quickly as possible. Dry needling can assist in speeding up this process.

Another reason to try dry needling is that the side effects are minimal and very short term. Any achiness or fatigue from treatment only lasts about 24 hours.

As well, patients become less reliant on medication for pain control. For people looking for more natural pain solutions, dry needling should be a part of their toolkit.

Finally, dry needling is very cost-effective when you compare it to surgery or long-term medication use.

Dr. A generally asks patients to have dry needling done two to five times in span of two weeks. However, this varies depending on the patient’s condition, and Dr. A cautions that relief is not always immediate. Like any therapy, it can take time to bring about the pain relief a patient is seeking.

 

Is dry needling for you?

It may be. At Life Care, we’ll start with getting an accurate diagnosis for your pain condition – and see if dry needling is recommended as a part of your PAIN TOOLKIT. It won’t be for everyone, but we are thrilled that, thanks to Dr. A, we now have this as an option in our holistic approach to healing. Be sure to reach out if you want to learn more – or schedule a diagnostic appointment with Dr. A.

 

Dr. Sharman

 

 

pressure wave therapy

Pressure Wave Therapy – How It Could Help You

Honestly…this is one of the most exciting new treatment offerings we’ve had in the many years I’ve been in practice. Only a handful of practioners in the state of Maryland are offering pressure wave therapy, despite the success of this non-invasive treatment. So here’s how I learned about pressure wave therapy and more details about this exciting new service available at Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness.

 

Why I’m Offering Pressure Wave Therapy

I came across this treatment technology at a national chiropractor meeting. I was very intrigued, as I had never heard of it before. At the meeting, I spoke to the representative from the company showcasing the technology, and learned that pressure wave is the same approach used to break up kidney stones.

As well, the representative shared the success they’d had in treating patients with plantar fasciitis – a condition impacting many of my patients. I saw that pressure wave could potentially break up the calcification and improve the blood flow, stimulating stem cells. That struck a chord with me…and I knew almost instantly that I wanted us to offer this treatment.

I went back to Maryland and did a bit of research, finding that first, only a few practices offered pressure wave in our state. After getting the equipment and receiving training on how to use it, I used pressure wave therapy on several people – including myself (I had a horrible foot pain). For the majority, the pain was completely resolved with just one treatment! It typically takes three to five treatments for resolution.

 

How it Pressure Waves Work

Radial pressure waves offer a treatment solution to long term/chronic tendon and soft tissue injuries that is completely non-invasive. No surgery, no injections, no pills. This treatment of the affected area will support and reset the healing pattern (even regenerating damaged tissue!). The process has been shown to improve chronic pain – even if the initial injury or pain condition began many, many years ago. Most patients feel a major reduction or a complete removal of pain.

Our therapist will apply shock waves through a specially designed hand piece that produces strong energy pulses for short periods of time. These high energy acoustic waves are transmitted through the surface of the skin directly to the affected tissue areas in a controlled procedure. Pressure waves have a mechanical effect on the tissue which stimulates the cells in the body which are responsible for healing. The micro trauma of the repeated pressure waves creates new blood flow to the area. It is the new blood flow that promotes tissue healing.

Pressure wave therapy produces an acute inflammatory process in the treated tissues. Your body responds by increasing the metabolic activity around the impacted area which in turn stimulates and accelerated the body’s own healing mechanisms.

RELATED: What You Can Do to Make Injuries Heal Faster

 

Success Stories with Pressure Wave Therapy

Many well-known clinics are using pressure wave therapy to treat a whole host of conditions – the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University are a few.

The data from research shows that the vast majority of patients with many pain conditions experienced improvement or even complete healing for their pain conditions. Some of the research results include:

  • 91% improvement for shoulder pain
  • 90% success rate for heal pain
  • 77% improvement for elbow pain
  • 76% success rate for achilles pain
  • 8 times more effective for hamstring pain than regular physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment

Other conditions where pressure wave therapy has been successful are: plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff pain, knee pain, foot pain, ankle pain, back pain, neck pain, hand pain and wrist pain. This therapy is continually being expanded to treatment for more areas of the body and more pain conditions.

 

The Cost-Effectiveness of This Treatment

Compared to many other treatment options, pressure wave therapy can not only be more effective, but less expensive in the long run.

First, there are no medication or surgical expenses. As well, for many other types of treatments, patients pay a $25-40 co-pay and could need as many as 20+ visits to complete their regimen. To compare, a typical plantar fasciitis patient would require physical therapy (PT) three times per week at a $25+ co-pay over months. This can add up to a lot of money quickly…and may still not yield pain relief.

With pressure wave therapy, less treatments are needed. We are packaging our treatment plans to make it easy and inexpensive for you to take advantage of this treatment:

$300 for three sessions

Fourth and fifth session for $50 each

It typically takes three to five sessions (10-15 minutes/session), and this will be our pricing starting in January.

As an introduction for my patients, I’m offering  discounted pricing from now through the end of the year:

$200 for three sessions

Fourth and fifth sessions for $25 each

Again, most patients will require three to five sessions.

So I’m hoping that many of you will consider this treatment option – and spread the word to your friends of family member suffering from one of the pain conditions we believe can improve with pressure wave therapy. For me, it’s one of the most optimistic treatment options I’ve come across in a long time. I am thrilled to offer it – and excited to start helping folks live with less pain or become completely pain-free!

 

Dr. Sharman