Another unsuccessful treatment I tried was “dry needling.” Dry needling is used for a variety of reasons, one being chronic pelvic floor dysfunction. According to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), dry needling is “a skilled technique performed by a physical therapist using thin filiform [solid] needles to penetrate the skin and or underlying tissues to affect change in body structures and functions for the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, movement impairments and disability”. [Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, May 2015]
“Tiny needles are inserted into the skin to stimulate a twitch response in the heart of a trigger point [taut muscle], releasing it. Although similar to acupuncture, dry needling focuses directly on trigger points rather than on the meridians, or energy fields, recognized by Chinese medicine. Usually, each trigger point requires several treatments before it relaxes substantially.” [Washington Post, June 2013]
“The needle may be advanced a number of times in the one area. Often patients do not even feel the needle penetrate the skin. Once the needle advances into the muscle, it may feel like a muscle cramp and there may be a “twitch response”. This twitch response has a positive effect on symptoms and the tissue. Patients may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. This is affirmation of the location of the area being treated. This results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle. Some positive results will be apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms.” [pelvicphysiotherapy.com, Oct.2018]
I went to a physical therapist for approximately 6 weeks with little to no benefit. When I first read about dry needling, I was encouraged because of the positive testimonials I read. There were many stories of people with IC undergoing dry needling therapy and having great success with the reduction of their pain and frequency. Unfortunately, that was not my story. My physical therapist was very nice and supportive. I was very surprised at where the needles were placed; that information is for another day. The placing of the needles took multiple tries. When the therapist found the right spot, she and I both knew because I would jump. The needle would hit a very tight muscle or tissue. Once the needles were place she would apply electrical stimulation for a few minutes.
This was not my answer; however, I will not give up! I will continue to research to find new and innovative (actually old and antiquated is fine too) ideas regarding the treatment of IC until I find the one that works for me. I have people counting on me so I will push on.