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Neck Pain and Tension Headaches – How Can I Find Relief?

By Errin Nelson, PT, DPT

“Every day.  I feel it every day.  This dull, aching pressure at the base of my head that flows into the tops of my shoulders and I just can’t seem to shake it.  It affects my work habits, my ability to play with my kids and my overall enjoyment of regular activities like reading and gardening.  I have even noticed my inability to sleep restfully.  It is just like this burning, searing pain and pressure that is present no matter if I am lying down or sitting up.  It has been bothering me for the last month and I haven’t found anything to make it better.”

Stress – headaches- muscle pain.  Does the above dialogue sound all too familiar? Hello, my name is Errin Nelson and I am a Physical Therapist at Lexington Regional Health Center.  Unfortunately, for many patients, these are the aches and pains that are often described to me when they come in for a physical therapy evaluation. I have good news! We can treat these symptoms and help you get back to enjoying life!  As an evolving rehabilitation group, it is has always been very important to us at LRHC to find innovative, effective treatment approaches to improve the quality of our patients’ lives.  Dry needling is one of those innovative healthcare approaches.

There are a plethora of reasons why we get headaches.  Stress, muscle tension and posture are three of the biggest contributing factors.  Dry needling has been shown to significantly reduce pain and symptoms for our patients we are treating in the clinic.  Most patients who receive dry needling find relief in the first 3-6 visits, depending on their onset of symptoms and duration of symptoms.

“A needle!? There is no way you’re giving me a shot!”  Be at ease!  The needle is very small and not hollow like you find with needles for giving injections.  There is no medication at all on this needle, hence the name ‘dry needling’.  This small, filiform stainless steel needle is inserted into the painful tissue by the therapist to elicit a twitch response.  This twitch response often feels like a muscle cramp and when this occurs, a patient’s muscle(s) relaxes much more readily, helping to restore range of motion and decrease pain symptoms.

Following a dry needling treatment, patient’s can expect to have muscle soreness, much like how you feel after exercise.  Immediate improvements in range of motion and sometimes immediate resolution of headache symptoms directly after treatment can also be experienced.

So what do you say?  Does this innovative treatment sound like something that can help you get back to enjoying your everyday? For more information, please contact our office at 324-8333 with any questions regarding an appointment or consultation to see if dry needling is an option for you!