Dry Needling And Migraines
I can still remember the look on one of my patients faces as she entered my clinics doors. It was a look of defeat, exhaustion and hopelessness. The dark circles around her eyes gave me a glimpse into someone who desperately needed help. As I began her evaluation, she began to tear up stating that she has had chronic migraines for 20 years and must remain on medication to function from day to day. She told me that the medication helps, but its like a band-aide and she is just waiting for the next pounding headache that often causes her to vomit and retreat to her bedroom, surrounded by darkness as the light is always too much to bear.
Her Rx stated: Chronic migraines, Dry needling and I asked her if she had ever heard of dry needling. She said that she had, but until her doctor recommended it, she didnt think it could help migraines. I explained to her that it may take a bit of time as this has been such a chronic issue for her that there are several places that could be involved in referring the pain. She gave me a bit of a forced smile and said, I have lived with this for 20 years, Im willing to try anything at this point.
Upon her examination, I discovered multiple areas along her upper shoulders, into her neck muscles & even her mid-back that were so restricted that it was hard for me to grasp them. I explained to her that I would start with one side at a time.
Does Dry Needling Hurt
One of the most common questions we are asked with dry needling is, Does it Hurt? Most patients dont even feel the needle penetrate the skin because the needle used in treatment is so thin. A healthy muscle will experience very little discomfort when the needle is inserted. Muscles that are sensitive, shortened or that have active trigger points may cause a sensation similar to a muscle cramp called the twitch response when the needle is inserted. Dry needling provides relief for patients by deactivating a trigger point and reducing pain.
What Other Types Of Conditions Can It Help With
So, if you live or work near the San Francisco Telegraph Hill North Beach Financial District and feel you would be a good candidate for our trigger point dry needling treatments, we would love to meet you. To schedule an appointment with our San Francisco Acupuncturist, please call 4154211115 or book an appointment online.
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Dry Needling For Strains
The repetitive overload of taut muscles can result in a strain. Muscles connect to bones by tendons, so when a taut or strained muscle pulls at the attachment site of the tendon, the resulting breakdown can evolve into tendinitis. With dry needling, a thin needle is placed into the inflamed tissue and recruits the bodys acute healing response to aide in quicker recovery time. Additionally, chronic tendon conditions can benefit from the influx of blood flow that occurs from the needle micro trauma.
Other Treatment For Migraines/headaches
The proper treatment depends on several factors including the type and frequency of the headache and its cause. Not all headaches require medical attention. Management of migraines, tension, cluster or cervicogenic headaches may include education, deep tissue massage, other manual therapy techniques, ultrasound and Dry Needling.
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Could Dry Needling Help My Headaches Or Migraines
Does your headache change when you move your head or change positions? Does it get worse if you sit and work on your computer or read a book? Does your headache get better when you go for a walk? If you answered yes to these questions, then it is likely dry needling could be beneficial for you. One study found that dry needling demonstrated similar improvements in headache and migraine related pain and function compared to pharmacological interventions. Another study found that dry needling the muscles of the neck resulted in decreased incidence of headaches, improved neck range of motion and improved functional rating by the participants.3
Dry needling can be done during your scheduled physical therapy appointment as part of your treatment. It can be performed more than once but is not frequently done more than twice a week. When dry needling is used to decrease headaches or migraines it is performed to the muscles in the neck or base of the skull. The needles are inserted into the muscle knot then removed shortly afterward. Though dry needling is effective at decreasing headaches, it is used as a piece of a complete physical therapy treatment plan that can involve manual therapy, exercise, or postural changes. Therefore, it is important to complete your exercises and other treatments as directed to gain the full benefits of dry needling and physical therapy.
Is Dry Needling Safe
Dry needling, when done by an experienced provider, is a safe, non-invasive procedure that provides you a natural treatment option for muscular pain. When you need relief from trigger-point pain, or from soft-tissue injuries, dry needling can give you the results you are looking for without the dangers of more invasive, aggressive therapy options.
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Moving Back Into Alignment
Once those muscles are released, youre also giving your body the chance to start moving back into correct spinal alignment. Extended periods of sitting or poor postural habits in general might have thrown all the muscles in your neck and upper back out of sync. Some may be too tight and others too stretched out and lengthened. After needling, youll able to bring the muscles along your upper spine into their proper ranges of motion. Youll be able to move your head and shoulders back into the positions theyre supposed to be in. Without treating the restrictions around our neck and upper spine, you wont be able to improve your posture.
Dry Needling Vs Acupuncture For Osteoarthritis
Both acupuncture and dry needling are used to treat osteoarthritis. In particular, research shows acupuncture and dry needling are particularly useful for the treatment of knee pain caused by the arthritis condition.
For the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis, non-trigger point dry needling is more effective than traditional dry needling alone. A 2014 review found that dry needling in muscles and tissues around the pain point reduces pain and sensitivity more than needling just in the pain point.
This dry needling strategy is more similar to acupuncture in that it treats a larger area of muscles and nerves. Trigger point dry needling focuses entirely on the point of pain.
National licensing groups for acupuncture therapists maintain lists of certified and licensed practitioners.
To find an acupuncture practitioner, start with these options:
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Dry Needling Sounds Like Acupuncture Are They The Same
The dry needling technique follows Western medical principles and approaches, so it is not acupuncture, which is an ancient practice based on Traditional Chinese Medicine that is thousands of years old. The similarity between the two practices is that both use very thin, solid filament needles. Each practice has a distinct methodology and approach.
How Do I Get Dry Needling
The first step is to schedule a physical therapy evaluation with a physical therapist trained to do dry needling. The physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and discuss with you if you are a candidate for dry needling.
For an individualized treatment plan to help you with your pain, consult with one of our physical therapists in Chicago by calling us at 374-5399 or by scheduling an appointment online. If you have further questions regarding dry needling, we would also be happy to answer them. Remember to also check out our , , and pages for more fun facts and articles on nutrition, physical therapy, and exercise!
Reviewed by James Caginalp PT, DPT, CSCS, CES, PES
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Dry Needling For Migraine Headaches
Although there is no known cause for migraine headaches there are certain triggers that can bring on these debilitating headaches.
- For women hormonal changes and birth control medications can trigger a migraine
- Stress, depression and anxiety are known to contribute
- Muscle tension due to poor posture, lack of sleep, etc.
- Low blood sugar
- Jet lag
- Alcohol and caffeine
- For some individuals, visual, auditory and olfactory stimulation can trigger migraines. Things like flickering computer, tv or movie screens, second hand smoke, loud noises, bright lights just to name a few.
Since dry needling works on myofascial muscles, the types of triggers that this treatment technique works best on are those involving tense muscles
Some of our patients report relief after one session, whereas others require several sessions to get full relief.
What Are The Risks And Adverse Effects From Dry Needling
Dry needling is a therapeutic option for pain relief that some physical therapists, chiropractors, and sports medicine doctors use to treat pain and increase range of motion in injured patients. However, when this therapy is performed improperly or in an unsterile manner, there are potential risks and side effects that can be serious and cause life-threatening harm.
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Trigger Points Of The Calves And Dry Needling
Trigger point dry needling uses a small, solid filament needle which is inserted in a contracted painful knotted muscle to create a local twitch reflex which is both diagnostic and therapeutic as it is the first step in breaking the pain cycle as research shows will decrease muscle contraction, reduce chemical irritation, improve flexibility and decrease pain.
Trigger points of the Gastrocnemius
Trigger points of the Soleus
Below is a video of a dry needling treatment of the calf combining electrical stimulation to the muscle to reset the calf following needling out the trigger points. This patient has chronic calf pain, limited ankle range of motion and over pronated feet.
Although this page involves the treatment of calf pain utilizing dry needling, the treatment can also help with the following conditions:
- Acute and chronic tendinitis
- Athletic and sports-related overuse injuries
- Post-surgical pain
- Post-traumatic injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and work related injuries
- Chronic pain conditions
Dry Needling In Practice
Dry needling is most often performed by physical and sports injury therapists. Currently, dry needling practitioners dont need extensive training. No regulatory agency controls training, licensure, or supervision for this procedure.
Because theres no credentialing board, theres also no way to determine if someones training is legitimate and satisfactory. If you choose dry needling, find someone with postgraduate healthcare education, such as a physical therapist.
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What Does Research Say About Dry Needling
Research supporting the use of dry needling is limited. Most of the existing research for dry needling supports the practice for relieving mild to moderate pain.
In some studies, dry needling provided more relief than a placebo treatment. However, one study showed that dry needling is no more effective than stretching alone to relieve muscle pain. In addition, a 2012 study found that platelet-rich plasma injections provided more relief for rotator cuff injuries than dry needling did.
Mild side effects are very common with dry needling but serious side effects are rare.
The most common side effects around the injection site include:
- temporary soreness
If nonsterile needles are used, you may be at risk for contracting bloodborne illnesses, infection, and diseases. Be sure your practitioner uses sterile needles and disposes of them after each use.
Since dry needling doesnt have formal training, certifications, or state licensure, there are more concerns about use than with acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a form of medical treatment thats been used for hundreds even thousands of years. Acupuncture originated in Asian medical practices. Thats why many licensure and oversight boards use the term Oriental Medicine to classify acupuncture.
In addition to this training, acupuncturists must undergo testing from a national board of examiners and continue to take instructional courses each year to maintain their license.
How Will I Benefit From Physical Therapy
If you are suffering from headaches, contact our Colorado physical therapy office today. At Rocky Mountain Physical Therapy, we are dedicated to providing you with the best treatments for your headaches.
At your initial appointment, one of our highly trained physical therapists will conduct a physical evaluation and ask you questions about your health history and symptoms, in order to determine what type of headache you are experiencing and where the pain is stemming from.
A treatment plan will then be designed specifically for you and your recovery.
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Treating Cervicogenic Headaches With Dry Needling And Manual Therapy
- Category: Blog
Cervicogenic headache refers to a headache of cervical origin1. The International Headache Society has classified headaches as primary, where there is no other causative factor, or secondary, where the headache occurs in close temporal relationship to another disorder to which it is attributed2. A cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache caused by a disorder of the cervical spine and its component bone, nerve/nerve root, disc and/or soft tissue elements1,35. It is common to have referred pain perceived in the head from a source in the neck1,6,7. People with cervicogenic headaches often have a reduced range of motion of their neck and worsening of their headache with certain movements of their neck or pressure applied to certain spots on their neck. The headaches are often side-locked , and the pain may radiate from the neck/back of the head up to the front of the head or behind the eye3,4,6. The headache may or may not be associated with neck pain. Diagnostic criteria have been established for cervicogenic headache, but its presenting characteristics may be difficult to distinguish from other headaches such as migraine or tension-type headache3.
Common Types Of Chronic Headaches Include:
- Migraines: severe recurring headaches, characterized by sharp pain and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.
- Tension Headaches: headaches related to muscle tension and/or stress that can come and go and may be chronic in nature.
- Cluster Headaches: headaches with intense pain that occur in clusters, usually followed by periods of remission.
- Cervicogenic or Craniovertebral Headaches: headaches which are felt in the front or back of the head, occasionally around the eye, as a result of abnormal mechanics of the upper cervical spine. Often times nerves located in the upper cervical spine may be irritated reproducing head or face pain, without neck pain.
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How Does Dry Needling Help With Rehabilitation
The goal of dry needling is to amplify the nervous system response to a stimulus to set in motion the necessary reactions for healing. Neurochemicals, such as Endorphins and Corticosteroids, are released the immune system brings white blood cells to the injured area, and red blood cells carrying oxygen and nutrients run to the site . Dry needling relaxes contracted muscles. Much of the pain and dysfunction of a muscle is due to a muscle spasm that needs to stop. Dry needling can eliminate the pain and dysfunction of the trigger point by inhibiting the spasm or causing it to stop entirely.
Search Strategy And Study Selection
Citation tracking and reference lists scanning of the selected studies and relevant systematic reviews will be searched for eligible studies. Manual search of keywords via internet will be also conducted. Additionally, the table of contents of the journal of Cephalalgia and the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies will be reviewed. The key journals are identified within the research in the Web of Science and Scopus. To minimize publication bias, grey literature will be identified by searching for conference proceedings , unpublished masters and doctoral theses , and unpublished trials will complete the search process by manual searching in Google. We will not review content from file sources that are from mainstream publishers , as we expect these to be captured in our broader search strategy.
If a full text of a relevant article is not accessible, a contact will be made with the corresponding author. In addition, when unpublished works are retrieved in our search, an email will be sent to the corresponding author to determine whether the work has been subsequently published. If no response received from the corresponding author after three emails, the study will be excluded.
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Headaches Or Migraines Can Be Relieved With Dry Needling
Are you or someone you know suffering from chronic headaches or migraines and need some type of relief? Then I encourage you to try or tell them about trigger point dry needling.
Dry Needling can help relieve headaches and migraines caused by stress and chronic, severe muscle spasms/tension which are found in trigger points. A trigger point is another term for what most people would consider a knot or lump in the muscle. It is a highly sensitive area that is painful with light palpation or massage. Trigger points can be sources of painful stimuli that house metabolic toxins which, over time, can lead to increased sensitivity to pain.
Dry Needling involves inserting long or small filament needles deep into the trigger points of the affected muscles with active trigger points. Trigger point dry needling works to improve muscle extensibility, as well as creating chemical, vascular and central changes.
The active trigger points refer pain that mimic the symptoms experienced with headaches and migraines. These trigger points can also cause headaches and migraines to occur. The most common muscles affected are the upper trapezius, sternocliedomastoid, levator scapulae, temporalis and masseters. The three muscles that make up the sub-occipital triangle also have referred patterns of headaches.
Any questions feel free to call us at HisTherapy. 864-534-1780www.histherapy.net