John 15

John 15
‘I am the vine, you are the branches'

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Myofascial Pain and Bad Hips -- Dry Needle Therapy as a Non Narcotic form of Pain Management

I am EXTREMELY PASSIONATE about dry needle therapy and feel it is an important pain management modality to discuss.  It wasn't the specialist that kept me off of pain pills, it was my dry needle therapist.  At the onset of my symptoms, I could barely walk or put pressure on my leg. Numerous dry needle sessions later, and I mean numerous, he was able to loosen the majority of muscles that had tightened up around the injured area relieving some of the pain (I will go into my many symptoms in another blog post).

Sadly, not enough people, doctors and patients, know about dry needle therapy and the benefits one can receive from it. The cliff note explanation of dry needle therapy is where a filiform needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point.  The inserted needle triggers a "twitch response" in the muscle causing it to release.  For a more detailed explanation, I strongly encourage you to read the resource paper, provided via the link below, which discuss dry needle in depth:

Prior to diagnosis, none of my specialist agreed on anything.  However, after diagnosis, and being connected with the right doctors, the puzzle pieces started to click together.  My physical therapist explained that because my femoral head does not fit correctly in my hip socket (also known as the acetabulum), the chemical messengers that engage the neurotransmitters in my brain are told to fire the wrong muscles.  Instead of the gluetus minimus, maximus, and medius firing, all the muscles in the front and inside of my leg fire instead.  This then causes trigger points resulting in immense pain in my inner groin, knee cap, hip line, and lower back area. The hip and pelvic area are meant to stay in place through the use of your gluetus muscles.  In my younger years, I was able to keep these muscles forecably strong through exercise.  However, as we grow up, get a job, sit for longer hours, and age, we lose muscle mass and then problems occur. After repeated misfiring, my front and inner leg muscles could no longer take the weight causing trigger points in those muscles leading to pain. This is known as myofascial pain.  Myofascial pain can be caused by injury, repetitive movements, mechanical issues, structural issues, stress, and more.  To learn more about myofascial pain, I also strongly recommend reading through Devin Starlynal's website She is one of the first pioneers when it comes to understanding myofascial pain and trigger points.

In my case, I use dry needle therapy to release constricted muscles in the affected area while doing specific exercises targeting the gluetus muscle causing those muscles to force fire keeping the stress of my other muscles.  Many traditional Physical Therapist do not understand myofascial pain and trigger points and at times, can cause people more damage by trying to strengthen a constricted muscle.  YOU CAN NOT STRENGTHEN A MUSCLE IN AN ALREADY CONSTRICTED STATE.  This will make the pain and damage worse. The trigger points must be taken care of first before strengthening affected areas.

Theoretically, once I have the PAO surgery, my body should then tell the correct muscles to fire. However, until I have surgery to correct the dysplasia, all my muscle issues, atrophy, pain, instability, and weakness will continue to be an issue for me.  My left leg is significantly weaker than my right. One could also see the visible atrophy caused by continually constricted muscles.  Muscles that stay in a constricted state due not get oxygen eventually causing neurological atrophy.

So, now that I've tried to weave my very complicated story together in one really long blog post, what I am hoping others take away from this is that the body will compensate for imbalances.  There are other forms of pain management and rehabilitation other than the traditional narcotic route.  If you are experiencing pre-surgery pain or post surgery pain, I strongly recommend finding a dry needle therapist in your area and asking for an assessment.  It won't be the end all, as it may take multiple modalities, but it can help alleviate the pain, restore functionality, and improve healing.  


  1. Being a first commenter, I want to say thank you for such a great blog. Secondly, It is very unique therapy for me because I never heard about this earlier. Now, after read this blog about Dry Needle Therapy, I am so much clear about it and I found that it is very interesting topic to discuss. I need more about this. Etoims is also a best therapy for healing joint and muscle pain. Etoims Technique treatment session will accomplish muscle relaxation and deep Myofascial Pain relief in what may not be possible in several hourly sessions of manual stretch and tissue mobilization therapies. Visit this site and live a normal life.

  2. etoims, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment. Is etoims US wide?