Dry needling is a common physical therapy treatment intervention in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice for patients with musculoskeletal pain. It involves the insertion of a thin monofilament needle into a muscle. Dry needling has been proven effective in reducing pain, changing the status of trigger points, improving muscular blood flow, and has been suggested to alter motor end plate function and mechanoreceptor activity. This treatment has become commonplace for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.
Now you’re probably thinking, “you want to stick a needle where?” Dry needling of the pelvic floor does not involve insertion of anything in the vaginal or rectal canal, rather the muscles of the pelvic floor are accessed externally. While there is good research to support the use of dry needling for many musculoskeletal conditions and theory from these can be applied to use in the pelvic floor, only case studies and case series exist currently as evidence for pelvic floor dry needling.
One case series finds dry needling of the obturator internus muscle (see picture above for an example of where the needle is inserted) as well as surrounding musculature that influences pelvic floor function–glutes, anterior and posterior thigh musculature, and lumbar spine musculature– to be effective in treating chronic pelvic pain. Patients in this study had previously failed extensive evidence-based physical therapy treatment for their chronic pain, but then had resolution of symptoms within 5-6 sessions of physical therapy involving dry needling to the pelvic floor and surrounding muscle groups.
Pelvic floor dry needling could be the component you are missing if you are dealing with unresolved pelvic pain.
At Mend Physical Therapy in Boulder, two of our pelvic health physical therapists are trained in pelvic floor dry needling.
George, Alyssa PT, DPT, OCS1; VanEtten, Lucas PT, DPT, OCS2; Briggs, Matt PT, DPT, PhD, AT, SCS3 Dry Needling for Female Chronic Pelvic Pain: A Case Series, Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: January/April 2018 – Volume 42 – Issue 1 – p 8-16