Dry Needling

Posted by cookiepic @cookiepic, Nov 28, 2021

It was recommended to try by my pt. I have DDD in my neck and that's where they want to do. Had anybody tried it and did it help. My C5,6 and 7 have no cushion left.

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Has anyone tried acupuncture for headaches or for anything? So far, it's not working for my headaches.

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@mikaylar

Has anyone tried acupuncture for headaches or for anything? So far, it's not working for my headaches.

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There's really no evidence that acupuncture works for much of anything. The studies that show positive outcomes are quite flawed.

What kind of headaches do you have?

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Have you had other types of PT and a home exercise program? https://www.jospt.org/doi/10.2519/jospt.2021.9864

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Cookiepic, my physical therapist has talked to me about dry needling. The way it works is it releases the electrical charge that is holding the muscles in a spasm knot. Since metal conducts electricity, it dissipates the charge when you stick a needle into the muscle. I don't like needles, so I didn't try it. The other thing that helps which I have done is a Dolphin Neurostimulator which is 2 handheld devices that send an electric current between them. I also am a spine surgery patient, and prior to my cervical fusion, my therapist was using the Dolphin to block pain signals at the nerve roots of my spine. That helped for about a week to reduce pain. Those give some temporary relief, but do not address the structural problem of the spine.

I had spinal cord compression because of a collapsed C5/C6 disc and bone spurs that were pressing into my spinal cord. I had a single level fusion at Mayo without hardware, and I stayed in a neck brace until the fusion process had begun. I had great results from my surgery and I'm doing well now at 5 years post op. The spine can start to fuse itself if the discs collapse completely which may become inoperable if that happens. A spine specialist would have to answer that question. Bone remodels because of pressure which is why bone spurs form and they can start to fuse the adjacent vertebrae and compress the spaces between vertebrae where the nerve roots exit.

Sometimes physical therapy is tried as a prerequisite to surgery. Are you considering a surgical procedure for your spinal disc issues? If you have questions, I can answer about my experience with spine surgery.

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@debkl

There's really no evidence that acupuncture works for much of anything. The studies that show positive outcomes are quite flawed.

What kind of headaches do you have?

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Have had a migraine/daily persistent headache for 28 months. Been treating at Jefferson Headache Center in Philly for years. Have tried everything. Trying acupuncture now which is not working.

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I was misdiagnosed with migraine for more than 20 years. Finally was correctly diagnosed with cervicogenic headache. Triptans and other meds Rx'd for migraine never helped me. Do you feel the diagnosis of migraine is accurate?

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@jenniferhunter

Cookiepic, my physical therapist has talked to me about dry needling. The way it works is it releases the electrical charge that is holding the muscles in a spasm knot. Since metal conducts electricity, it dissipates the charge when you stick a needle into the muscle. I don't like needles, so I didn't try it. The other thing that helps which I have done is a Dolphin Neurostimulator which is 2 handheld devices that send an electric current between them. I also am a spine surgery patient, and prior to my cervical fusion, my therapist was using the Dolphin to block pain signals at the nerve roots of my spine. That helped for about a week to reduce pain. Those give some temporary relief, but do not address the structural problem of the spine.

I had spinal cord compression because of a collapsed C5/C6 disc and bone spurs that were pressing into my spinal cord. I had a single level fusion at Mayo without hardware, and I stayed in a neck brace until the fusion process had begun. I had great results from my surgery and I'm doing well now at 5 years post op. The spine can start to fuse itself if the discs collapse completely which may become inoperable if that happens. A spine specialist would have to answer that question. Bone remodels because of pressure which is why bone spurs form and they can start to fuse the adjacent vertebrae and compress the spaces between vertebrae where the nerve roots exit.

Sometimes physical therapy is tried as a prerequisite to surgery. Are you considering a surgical procedure for your spinal disc issues? If you have questions, I can answer about my experience with spine surgery.

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Right now the last resort would be surgery on my neck. And my orthopedic doctor said that would be my last resort. He feels if l went to a pt and also did steroid injections it should lesson the discomfort. I'm really not crazy about getting injection in my neck and reading alot about them they don't work or if they do for a short time. When my pt mentioned dry needling it sounded somewhat interesting. No steroids injected and it seems alot of people got relief.

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@debkl

I was misdiagnosed with migraine for more than 20 years. Finally was correctly diagnosed with cervicogenic headache. Triptans and other meds Rx'd for migraine never helped me. Do you feel the diagnosis of migraine is accurate?

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Can l ask you how you feel with cervicogenic headache. I'm asking because l am thinking this is what l get. I have DDD in my neck. When really bad l get the discomfort up the back of my head to the top. Sometimes it goes into my forehead.

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@cookiepic

Can l ask you how you feel with cervicogenic headache. I'm asking because l am thinking this is what l get. I have DDD in my neck. When really bad l get the discomfort up the back of my head to the top. Sometimes it goes into my forehead.

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What you have is the classic "Ram's horn" distribution of pain with cervicogenic headache. I have DDD at all levels but really have no pain or radiculopathy except in my thoracic spine. I never felt my headaches were migraine but no one really listened. I saw a Spine and Sports Medicine specialist for something else, we started talking about my headaches, and he felt they weren't migraine either. I started doing upper back exercises, stopped sumatriptan, which made me feel awful, and it was about 6 weeks later, after 20+ years, I started feeling better.

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@debkl

What you have is the classic "Ram's horn" distribution of pain with cervicogenic headache. I have DDD at all levels but really have no pain or radiculopathy except in my thoracic spine. I never felt my headaches were migraine but no one really listened. I saw a Spine and Sports Medicine specialist for something else, we started talking about my headaches, and he felt they weren't migraine either. I started doing upper back exercises, stopped sumatriptan, which made me feel awful, and it was about 6 weeks later, after 20+ years, I started feeling better.

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What is rams horn?

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@cookiepic

Right now the last resort would be surgery on my neck. And my orthopedic doctor said that would be my last resort. He feels if l went to a pt and also did steroid injections it should lesson the discomfort. I'm really not crazy about getting injection in my neck and reading alot about them they don't work or if they do for a short time. When my pt mentioned dry needling it sounded somewhat interesting. No steroids injected and it seems alot of people got relief.

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Cookiepic, I had one epidural spine injection that was done as a diagnostic procedure. It caused a new immediate sharp intense paraesthesia pain that was burning electric pain in the thumb and forefingers of my dominant hand. It calmed down the pre-existing pains caused by spinal cord compression for only a few days before they started returning. It took about 6 weeks for the paraesthesia to subside and then I was left with cold sensitivity in my hand for about a year and a half. I'm not doing that again. This isn't an FDA approved use of steroids as an injection in the spine, and it can be dangerous if done improperly. I may have had an inflammatory response to a component in the injection. This is also used to postpone spine surgeries and doesn't fix anything. A surgeon may not want to take a risk on a patient, and the spinal injection helps him avoid it. The steroid injected will also obscure the image on an MRI which takes about 6 weeks to resolve before a clean MRI image can be obtained.

You may want to seek other spine surgery opinions. While surgery is a last resort, it also is most successful when it is done before permanent damage occurs to the spinal cord or nerves. It all depends on how fast it is advancing and how stable or unstable your spine is, and what is the degree of compression of the nerves and spinal cord. I was at an increased risk of paralysis if I was in an accident with my spine in that condition. I also saw the amount of bone spurs pressing on the spinal cord double in 9 months time on subsequent MRIs. Your spine specialist should advise you on when the time is right for surgical intervention. You might get different answers from different surgeons as well as different ways to fix a problem. Whenever that time is right, make sure you have been seen by the surgeon you want to do the job. Sometimes they back out if there are too many complicating factors. Your choice of a surgeon can make a huge difference in your outcome. Make sure you are in good hands and ready when the time comes.

I didn't think cervical spine surgery with a frontal approach (ACDF) was that bad. It is a long recovery and mine was 3 months in a collar until fused, then some months of rehab because the neck muscles gets weak in a collar that long. I am glad I did the surgery and I was in constant pain before hand.

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@cookiepic

What is rams horn?

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The distribution of pain is shaped like the horn or antler of a ram. This website has a good illustration of it. https://ccsbismarck.com/cervicogenicheadaches/

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