My lovely wife. I blame her for sparking my passion for dry needling. A little background on her will help. She’s a pediatric physical therapist, smart as a whip, and very skeptical of my manual techniques. As I was completing my fellowship I was feeling pretty confident in my skills when she came to me with complaints of bilateral cervicothoracic junction and upper trapezius pain.
Objectively, you could pretty much check off most of the typical boxes. Forward head, limited upper cervical flexion, hypomobile cervicothoracic junction, tender to palpation over bilateral upper traps, poor deep cervical flexor endurance, etc. The point is, she had a lot for me to work on. Long story short, I pulled out every trick I had learned and her response was “meh.” Objectively her mobility was improved, her postural endurance was improved, but not a lick of difference subjectively. At the time, I had a good friend and colleague who had just started dry needling. We were having a study group and I invited her to swing by and let him give it a shot (pun intended).
Yes, my needle phobic wife agreed begrudgingly, and to my surprise, she was very pleased with the results. She reported that the burning sensation in her upper traps that she had been experiencing since grad school was 90% improved after one session. She became a believer and that’s what sparked my passion for dry needling.
Have you seen the benefits of dry needling yet? Tell us below. And if you’re curious about it or already know you want to add it to your clinical toolbox, join me for Upper Quadrant Dry Needling in Dallas, TX in September!
–Gary Kearns, PT, COMT, FAAOMPT
NAIOMT Guest Faculty