The first symptom of my Multiple Sclerosis nine years ago was extremely painful muscle spasms in my hip and leg that wouldn’t release. At first my daily pain was 5 to 7 but finally a prescription for Baclofen reduced the daytime levels to 3 to 4. Sore, but mostly tolerable.
However, one big trigger was inactivity, such as when I was sleeping. In bed, no matter what position I slept after 10 to 20 minutes I’d wake up unable to move my leg and screaming out in pain. Sleeping in a recliner gave me more relief but it would still wake me 2 to 3 times a night.
This has gone on for NINE YEARS! Even with increasing doses of Baclofen and Tizanadine at night and despite treatments by multiple physical therapists.
This year my neurologist suggested a physical therapist that his other patients had been calling a “miracle worker”. So I drove from Mokena to Naperville to see Ben Grotenhuis at Fysical Therapy and Balance Center in Naperville.
Ben listened to my history and painfully prodded my hips, back and legs. When finished he explained that he thought a therapy he used could help and explained Dry Needling Therapy. Even though it sounded painful in itself, and it is, I agreed when he said that if it didn’t help after three treatments we would stop. He did the first treatment that same visit.
You can read about Dry Needling Therapy here: http://www.napervillept.com/2015/01/21/private-trigger-point-dry-needling/. But basically the therapist inserts very thin needles directly into the knot in the muscle. Then manipulates the needle or moves it in and out. I didn’t even feel the needles as they entered. But the desired reaction was described in the literature as a “twitch response”. For me, that was the painful part. When the needle hits “the spot” I’d feel a very sharp, sometimes electrical, pain. Mostly causing me to let out a yowl. Ben explained that a good insertion would produce 2 – 3 responses. But then he would just as quickly remove the needle and find the next knot.
The first week I was only sore. Heat helped. But Ben said that cold would work as well. The second week he worked on a different set of muscles. This time there was some soreness afterward but two nights later I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT without the spasms. They came back but only once a night.
After the third treatment I started feeling the twitch run down the entire muscle. Yes, I was a bit sore at the site, but the muscle itself was no longer stiff or sore. I started having more painless nights.
I have had 8 treatments so far. With an estimate of 2 more to go. The number of spots that needed to be needled has gotten fewer with each visit. And I have had only ONE NIGHT that I woke up with a screamingly painful spasm. I have found that I still have general stiffness and some paing in my right leg and hip but the Baclofen is managing that much better.
The treatments haven’t helped with the numbness in my leg. And I still get electrical type pains in my feet and toes occasionally. But my daily pain level has gone down to a 1 or 2.
Medicare rejected the first claim for the treatment. But I haven’t seen it being resubmitted so I don’t know if it, or insurance, will end up paying for it.
Will this work for you? Whether or not you have MS, if you have muscle based pain where you can say “It hurts worse right here!” then it may work for you as well.
Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers, 1240 Iroquois Ave, Suite 400, Naperville, IL 60563 Phone:(630) 369-1015 Website: http://www.napervillept.com/. Ask for an appointment with Ben Grotenhuis.
Since Dry Needling Therapy requirements were only recently approved in Illinois (2017 – see https://www.ipta.org/news/news.asp?id=349691), there doesn’t seem to be a central list of practitioners. I had success doing a Google search for “Dry Needling Therapy near me”. Also, Yelp seems to have a good list again by searching for Dry Needling giving reviews from patients. When calling I would definitely ask about therapist including how much training and how long have they been practicing Dry Needling.