How Dry Needling Can Reduce Your Chronic Pain by 90% Each Year
Shane answers this and more for you in this highly informative and helpful video.
by Shane Jansa
I’m going to talk about today functional dry needling and some of the science behind it as well as some of the questions that we get on a daily basis. And specifically how dry needling can reduce chronic pain by 90% each year.
We have been using dry needling in our Clinic about 4 years to treat chronic pain. And on a simple level we use it for acute chronic pain and use a monofilament needle without medication. And the needle itself is about 3/10 of a millimeter thick. So very small. There is no reservoir, which is different than your needle that you might get when you get the vaccine shot. In those kinds of shots, there’s a reservoir that rips through tissues and hurts. But with dry needling, the monofilament needle is inserted through the epidermis of your skin into the muscle, with the thought that we are trying to release shortened bands of muscle or tissue and decrease trigger point activity.
A trigger point is what I’ve described as a top band of tissue that is typically tender to touch and may cause pain when you push on it and other parts of the muscle or even a different muscle further down a limb or body part. Those who have chronic pain where sometimes it’s been present in the muscle for many many years in our patients.
And they have worked very hard to try and get rid of these through massage, icing, heating electrocuting, physical therapy, maybe even potentially other types of therapies and have not had much luck. (Medications included). And so we kind of thrive on that kind of situation where nothing has worked and we will go to the needling part.
And so one of the questions people have before they do it is:
“Will it hurt?” Very first question.
I describe it as…. you don’t necessarily feel a poke because remember the 3/10 of a millimeter is really small. You tend to feel a little pressure. When we’re in the muscle you typically feel an ache. It’s very short-lived which is why most people leave and say “that actually wasn’t bad and I wouldn’t mind doing that again!” Because we’ll talk about some of the immediate results people get. They typically feel pain relief. Sometimes that day, that moment, maybe later that night. Typically we expect results the next day! So….. Basically, the tenderness outweighs the benefits in probably 99% of patients I’ve done this on in the last…. I think it’s been like Five years now in having done this. And I lost track when I was trained in this the first year, you know, I’ve done maybe 400 sessions and then I had to go get more training. And we’re in the thousands now.
And so that might be the next question people ask is “how effective is it?”
What I tell people is “we’re going to do one session, one needle in one area that’s sore. And if you get a lot of benefit, we’re going to continue the procedure.” And then they say “well how much benefit?” Over time I’ve said “it’s going to be detectable and it’s going to be enough that you want to do a second.” And so I don’t repeat a second visit if there’s no progress. It’s really rare that I’ll do that. So I put pressure on ourselves to get that benefit and I expect at least 25% Improvement.
So if their pain is a 10 out of 10, they should come in at 7, you know, 7 out of 10…. that’s 30% improvement. So we have to have detectable change. If nothing else that muscle better feel very very relaxed wherever we’re working.
And I give a range 25 to 50% then they say….. Another question: “How many sessions is it going to take?”
Our average to 90% Improvement is three visits. So 3 needling sessions in a given muscle with a chronic problem from beginning to end. 3 sessions. Do some people take longer? Yes Do some people do 1 needle and they’re born again? So to speak… have no pain? Yes, that’s not as common. But should it take 6, 10, 15 sessions of needling? Not typically.
So we strive for that three average.
Folks not only know where they’re going in their Improvement and they know the cost effectiveness of that too, right out of the gate.
Another question that they have is “How long will it last?”
That’s a big one and I usually say if 1 is good…. and if 3 gets you to 90…. then 90 should last you a year or more.
And that is held true most of the time that we’ve done this.
I would say occasionally people come back for two reasons mainly:
We usually Give homework to address the biomechanical issues that led to the chronic pain in the muscle in the first place. And so I say “Do your homework and this should not come back.” Those patients that do know that. We’ll ask how their homework is going. They say they have been doing it. Not that we would needle them again, but those folks that don’t do the homework tend to maybe need a little refresher course.
With these patients it is almost a year. Some of them a little sooner. Depending on the situation. I think that covers mostly what I want to talk about at this moment.
Next time we’re going to talk about or actually demonstrate the needling procedure. Thank you and we hope that is helpful to you as you consider treatments for your chronic pain. We’ve been pleased to see that Dry Needling can reduce your chronic pain by 90% each year!