Health providers have another tool in their fight against chronic pain. The procedure is called 'dry needling', which a health professional says can relieve muscular or migraine pain in just a few treatments.
Gerad Donahue is a Physical Therapist specially trained in dry needling with Ascension Rehabilitation in Rhinelander.
Donahue says during minimally invasive procedure, specialists insert a filament-thin needle into muscles and connective tissues to reach trigger points deep beneath the surface of the skin...
"...and we insert it into....the muscle. and we 'piston' it in and out of the muscle. attempting to get what is essentially a local twitch response out of that muscle so we get it to essentially twitch and get it to release some of the tension or tautness in the muscle itself...."
Donahue says dry needling, along with other physical therapy, manual therapy and exercise can be effective treatments for chronic pain, headaches, whiplash, acute injuries as well as for improved range of motion and chronic post-operative pain and immobility...
"...by doing this we do cause a microscopic amount of muscular damage and by doing that, think of it as working out. We're increasing blood flow to the area and with blood flow comes inflammatory mediators which are beneficial to the body. They promote healing and hopefully help us to get remodeling of the tissue and reduce some of the pain that is going on..."
Donahue says while the needles used during the procedure resemble those used for acupuncture, dry needling is different in purpose and method. Dry needling stimulates the muscle to restore normal tissue function when used as part of a complete physical-therapy-wellness plan.