The title is enough to make you cringe, but what does the research out there show about the effectiveness of dry needling therapy for people suffering with chronic pelvic pain?
First of all, a brief explanation on dry needling:

Dry needling is a form of therapy that uses acupuncture needles, which are inserted into trigger points in the muscle belly. The needle is often left for 5-15 minutes, with the aim of releasing the trigger point, which in effect relieves pain.

Dry needling is used as an adjunct to many manual therapy treatments and is a highly effective treatment option for those with muscle tightness or musculoskeletal pain syndromes.

But what is its use in chronic pelvic pain, if any?
And what do trigger points have to do with chronic pelvic pain?

We know from studies that inflamed organs can cause trigger points to develop in surrounding musculature of similar innervation, via a positive feedback loop in the spinal cord. We also know that trigger points themselves can shoot off messages to nearby organs of the same innervation and stir up a particular type of inflammation in the organ, called neurogenic inflammation.
So trigger points can either be the source of pelvic organ inflammation or they can be enhancing and prolonging a pathological issue with that organ!

Therefore, in releasing specific trigger points, there can often be a reduction in symptoms and in some cases, a complete resolution of symptoms!
Sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it?

This theory has been supported in research by studies of people with interstitial cystitis being treated with trigger point therapy of the pelvic floor, abdomen and other surrounding musculature, with significant reduction in symptoms post-therapy.

But what does the evidence say about the use of dry needling in these conditions?
Well, not a lot.
There are many studies to support the use of dry needling for myofascial pain syndromes and some low quality studies suggesting that it may be effective in specific pelvic pain conditions; however, nothing of notable quality yet.
But we can infer from studies, which suggest trigger point release as an effective treatment for chronic pelvic pain, that dry needling (which acts to release a trigger point) could well be just as effective.

Rachel has training in pelvic floor physiotherapy, visceral manipulation, trigger point therapy and dry needling. Book in with her today to ask about the best treatment plan for your body!

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