Sport & Spine Clinic expands into dry needling
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Like acupuncture, dry needling involves the insertion of needles into certain trigger points. However, while acupuncture addresses the flow of chi in Chinese medicine, dry needling works inside the musculoskeletal system.
“I’d been hearing about it for two years,” said physical therapist Merrie DeGrand. “We are having more patients asking for it. We (added dry needling) just to have another tool in our toolbox to help patients out.”
To provide the service, DeGrand and two of her staff members, Betsy Wolf and Brittany Novotny, underwent training to obtain certification to administer dry needling.
“There are Level I and Level II courses,” said DeGrand. “We have to go through a two- or three-day course and then be tested out of each.”
Through the course, the trio learned to administer small, thin needles into the impaired tissue by locating a taut section of skeletal muscle.
“They say that it is more effective if we find a tight band or a taut band and we try to get the needle into that, and it’s like resetting the system, like a control-alt-delete on a computer,” explained DeGrand. “It’s resetting the whole muscle spindle and all the way from the central nervous system.”
“It’s a really good tool for chronic pain patients,” added Wolf. “So we can try to restart those muscles to do the activity and exercises that we want to do with them to compliment what we are already doing.”
Patient Lisa Freund stated that the insertion experience came with minimal pain.
“It wasn’t bad at all,” said Freund. “I would describe it as if somebody had experienced allergy testing, where they do the little prick. … I just felt the pressure, not the prick.”
“There are times when the muscle just starts jerking,” added DeGrand. “You can see it, but everybody kind of hits it differently. It just depends where they are at (with therapy.)”
Common issues that may be helped with dry needling include tendonitis, neck pain, headaches, muscle strains, repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel, rotator cuff impingement, and plantar fasciitis.
Dry needling is used at Sport & Spine Clinic as a complimentary service to other therapy procedures. Treatment is available at the Marshfield and Auburndale Sport & Spine Clinics as well as Stratford and Edgar.