Tips for Bladder Pain Relief

Dry Needling for IC

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.”   [, 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.


  1. I also gave several dry needling sessions a try with my physical therapist (this after years of acupuncture), and it didn’t give me any relief from my lower back pain. Sorry it didn’t work for your IC.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. folks think of alternative medicine as something experimental — but doctors also experiment when they say, “Let’s try this.” the difference is that insurance is more likely to cover traditional meds…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve just had ten days now of yet another IC episode. And I know it’s stress related! I’ve been to the doctor twice during this time, just to ask for help, for something, anything. No infection of course which I knew would be the case. Interestingly I have in the last month finally after five years come off Sertraline the anxiety/anti depressant. However, my anxiety has been triggered by a couple of things of late and usually the Sertraline seems to keep things under control. Now, with no ‘back-up’ it’s been through the roof. Hence my reasoning that this is stress related. So I’m now taking AZO to help with the pain, and some over the counter anti stress medication, plus ibuprofen to calm any inflammation and Xanax when things get completely out of control. Any suggestions, more than welcome! Katie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Katie – Thanks for sharing. I completely understand what you are dealing with. I also had to take an anxiety medication because of this disease. There are a couple of things you can do to help with flareups. One, try placing an ice pack over your bladder area just under your stomach. Cold helps me. I know some people find heat better. Also, try putting 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. These are 2 things that help me when I am in a flareup. One other suggestion would be to soak in a warm bathtub. Please let me know how you are doing. I will be thinking about you and saying prayers. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re so kind. In truth I’ve not had such a bad one as this for a couple of years. I’ve slept through the night which was brilliant and although it’s just 5:50am now, I’m creeping around the house trying to fill hot water bottles and take more pain killers! If the dog wakes up then I’m for it! That means that everyone will be woken! Thanks so much for your help and advice. And you’re right, the hot bath helps for sure. Thank you … I don’t know anyone else who suffers this.

        Liked by 1 person

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