Alternative Treatment for Chronic Pain a Success for Busy Teacher

October 09, 2018
St. Mary's Regional Medical Center - News Fall 2018 - Pain Relief Success - Cover Story

“Dry needling changed my life.” – Gaye Lynn Chaney

For two years, Gaye Lynn Chaney suffered with plantar fasciitis, a type of heel pain that occurs when the tissue spanning the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed. “When I got out of bed in the morning I could hardly walk, or if I sat for very long and then I tried to get up, it would hurt. I tried everything to get rid of it,” she says, but the pain persisted. Her sister-in-law then told her about dry needling at St. Mary’s Center for Rehabilitation, and she finally found the relief she was looking for.

“I tell my friends that it’s like acupuncture only the needle goes into the muscle tissue,” Chaney says. “I could feel results right away.”

St. Mary’s physical therapist Kent Keithly, PT, Cert. DN, explains that dry needling enables therapists to target deeper muscles and tissue using extremely thin, sterile needles guided into very specific locations. It helps induce an inflammatory response with the goal of improving blood flow and relaxing the muscle.

Patients typically lie down for the treatment, and will feel a little sting when the needle enters their skin. There is some discomfort during the procedure, Chaney says, “but it’s bearable and it’s not nearly as bad as living with whatever you’re living with.”

Patients may need up to 10 or 12 sessions, depending on their condition, but sometimes the issue can be resolved in far fewer sessions. Keithly says therapists can usually tell early on if the treatment is going to be effective, and often patients feel a difference immediately.

As her foot began to feel better, Chaney was excited to return to her regular exercise routine and enjoy running without pain. Keithly notes that her active lifestyle, and the fact that she was already stretching her foot and doing the “homework” that is recommended in outpatient therapy, contributed to her positive results.

“Our bodies, no matter what age we are, function better with movement,” Keithly says. To support the best possible outcomes, dry needling is offered in conjunction with traditional therapy and exercise, and patients are given activities they can do at home.

For Chaney, the relief she’s found has made a big difference in all aspects of her life, including her active career teaching family and consumer sciences at Perkins- Tryon High School, where she is up and down on her feet all day. She says she feels so good now she almost forgets she ever had a problem.

She got a brief reminder when she began to experience symptoms of plantar fasciitis in her right foot, which hadn’t been affected previously, and she immediately scheduled a dry needling appointment. “I caught it early,” she says, and the pain went away quickly.

To people who may be considering this alternative treatment, Chaney says, “I would try it and just see what kind of results you get. I want to tell everyone about it,” she says, “because it’s one of those things that just affects your quality of life.”

Dry needling is provided at St. Mary’s Center for Rehabilitation in the Willow Plaza Shopping Center. To learn more, please call 580-237-8278.

Learn more about St. Mary's Center for Rehabilitation >

Could dry needling help your pain?

Dry needling may help if you have:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tennis/golfer’s elbow
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Shoulder pain
  • Mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis
  • • Low back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Hip and gluteal pain
  • TMJ

If you’re experiencing problems with pain that hasn’t been relieved with other treatments, ask your doctor if dry needling may be an option for you. A physician prescription is required.

Individual results may vary.