A VIP Seat to my Dry-Needling Journey! Interview with my Fab Physiotherapist 👌

By Chantelle Dasrath

My pain threshold has always been extremely high , in fact during & after undergoing my c-section procedure for the birth of my Sir MJ,I had no pain whatsoever. (Thank The MAN ABOVE for that).

Muscle pain from an injury at gym is usually easily dealt with, with modern day supplements and stuff, so I am generally an easy going female at the weights section of the gym.

Recently however , after suffering with serious knee injuries due to what possibly could be a sport injury , it took a toll/ strain on my body. I never fully recovered , I got straight outta hospital to my sister's wedding and back to work , oooh life was just extremely busy and well I had to suffer the consequences of no rest, which resulted in "neck pain" from hell.

I can't really describe the strain or pain, but days were bad and nights were sleepless.

After seeking advice from family and colleagues , I decided to visit a physiotherapist.

I was welcomed by a pretty lady with the biggest smile, thank God for medical personnel who make you feel comfortable and secure.

So I explained my symptoms and she suggested dry-needling. Look, at this moment I was desperate to try out anything. I needed some sort of sleep and relief from this nightmare of pain.

My first session of dry-needling was so comforting ... I loved the feeling!

Needles don't really "burst my bubble" so I was all in to try this so called needling that takes away the pain.

When you're in the "hot seat",I think it is human nature to feel a bit nervous but after the 1st needle was inserted , this method for pain relief was actually child's play.

I eventually built up the courage to ask this kind and friendly Physiotherapist to take some pictures of me , lol yeah I'm the lady who even took pictures with my gynae for my baby shower slideshow 😆

Seen above is my dry-needling session!

After my first session, I felt relief and with the help of a good pillow , I am now sleeping well.

I am sure 1 or 2 more sessions will do the trick and make my neck strong again , after all ... if one thinks about it , your neck is actually holding your head in place so it has to be strong and in good shape!

I strongly believe that people need to be educated about these modern day medical methods that assist in speeding up recovery, so I chatted to this pretty lady Lauren & asked her to tell us a little more about this magical pressure point pain relief method!

After all ... sharing is caring & caring is loving 💕

Hope you enjoy 😄

Interview with Physiotherapist - Lauren Engelbrecht

  1. Please introduce yourself
    My name is Lauren Engelbrecht, a practicing physiotherapist at Physio4You based at the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. I qualified in 2010 with BSc. Physiotherapy degree from the University of the Western Cape. I am a born and bred Capetonian living, loving and working in this bustling Jozi. My special areas of interest include neuromusculoskeletal conditions in all its shapes and form. As much as being a physiotherapist is my first love, I am an enthusiastic foodie, always trying out new dishes and places of interest. I love art in many forms, interior décor, photography and traveling.

Yeap ...that's her 💗 I told ya she's a stunner😎

2.What do you do ?
I run the physiotherapy out-patient department at Physio4You based at Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital. We service a variety of patients with a variety of conditions, i.e. paediatric patients to the elderly who present with any neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Our treatments are guided by a comprehensive and thorough assessment.

3.What is dry needling in a nutshell?
People confuse Dry needling and Acupunture quite easily and tend to use the word interchangeably. But there is a difference.
Dry needling is a technique used to treat pain based on western medicine using anatomical and neurophysiological principles. It is a very specific technique that targets muscle trigger points to bring optimal relief, effectively and promptly. If there is a knot in the muscle, we target that specific area and its associated trigger point referral pattern. The very thin non-medicated solid filiform needle (No injection of liquids used) is then inserted into the target tissue, whether muscle, bone, fascia or ligament. The prick of the sharp needle end causes “microtrauma” which is good for the healing cellular response we are seeking. Patients are usually quite tender the next day but always report relief. – in a nutshell.

4.Many confuse dry needling with acupuncture…please differentiate between the both.
Dry needling vs Traditional Acupuncture (Chinese medicine)
Western vs Eastern
Anatomical and neurophysiological principles vs traditional acupuncture which is a system of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points on the body along what is considered to be lines of energy (meridians).

5.How has the response from your patients been regarding dry needling?
Many patients respond positively to dry needling and do come back for follow up treatments. They often report significant pain relief and a general improvement in functionality. I guess if they are coming back for follow ups, it must mean that it’s working. It’s also understandable that some patients are initially reluctant as let’s face it, no one jumps at the opportunity at receiving needles of any sort. However, after explaining the procedure, benefits and potential discomfort, patients are more receptive to the idea. In fact, many report that it is not as bad as they imagined it to be. Some are more fearful of the idea of needles that the actual dry needling procedure itself and if they are too scared to attempt the technique, we respect the patients’ decision. Generally patients respond well, some are tender only the morning after, others a bit longer (a day or two) but when they follow post dry needling procedures they do get optimal results.

6.I am your patient and I have definitely found some relief from this therapy coupled with some of your other advice , what other methods work in conjunction with dry needling?
I’m very happy to hear that ;)
Well, dry needling is only one of the techniques we use to help treat severe trigger points and associated muscular pain. We do a thorough subjective and objective evaluation which guide our treatment plans which are specific to each patient. We pride ourselves in being hands on therapists who will use our hands to help heal.
Treatment of a neck muscular spasm would usually include:
Myofascial release
Spinal joint mobilisations
Peripheral joint mobilisations
Heat therapy
Exercise therapy
Home therapy exercise programme and advice (Ergonomics and posture rehab)
We may use strapping to provide a light external support that allows one to still be active while the muscles, ligaments etc recover from injuries.
These are just a few examples. If you suffer from any muscular pain, give us a visit to see first-hand how we can aid in your recovery.

7.Can pregnant women do this therapy?
Yes, Pregnant woman can, only after the first trimester and away from areas that involve the lower back and abdomen.
There are few studies that support and negate dry needling fully for the pregnant population. It is all done at the clinicians findings and general dry needling safety recommendations.

8.Age groups that are allowed to enjoy dry needling?
All age groups, except infants and very young kids. I think the youngest I have needled was aged 12 years old with the patient’s full consent, cooperation and willingness as well as parent consent.

9.Which are the most painful points for dry needling?
In my opinion, Upper trapezius muscles or shoulders, due to the amount of active trigger points found in this area.
Gastrocnemius muscles: Many painful trigger points found there too.
Iliotibial band: Tight or taut band, painful active trigger points usually found there too. Common in our runners.
Deep groin muscles: it is a very sensitive area with big muscles.

10.Does dry needling help with arthritis?
I have used it in conjunction with other treatments for arthritis, it does help relieve and loosen tight musculature, which in turn brings relief and improved mobility in the respective joint.

11.What is pressure point pain?
Pain felt from pressure applied to a trigger point.

12.Are new needles use for every patient?
Yes, we use new needles for every single patient and every single application for that patient.
The needles are sterile and packaged individually for convenience.
We use cleansing products like Dermabac to clean the surface of the skin and hands/gloves before application of dry needles.

13.Approximately how many sessions are required for best results?
Every patient is different; some need more sessions than others.
On average about 3-5 sessions we do see optimal results. We have a lot of patients that come in for maintenance sessions, especially those patients prone to an increased number in trigger points causing pain. Many patients that are desk bound for many hours seek maintenance treatment.

14.What advice can you give to folk who are afraid of needles?
I always say “Give it a try, at least once.” If after you try and say it’s not for you, then it’s understandable to decline”. Also I emphasise that the needles are nothing like the typical doctors medicated needle. Dry needles are much thinner.
The thing is this, patients are already in pain when they seek physiotherapy intervention. They have nothing to lose. If it works well for them, great! If not, then we explore other options to help relieve pain.

15.Any closing tips on dry needling.
Its definitely worth a try to all the “newbies” but it has great results when used as an adjunctive technique to treatment. We have many success stories, so just keep calm and trust us at Physio4You.

That's me during my session. You actually get used to it after a few seconds.

I really hope this writeup and review helps some folk out there.

Don't forget to leave your comments!

Yours in always helping others ...

ChanyD 💋