'They treat you like they care because they do.'

Lori with her niece.

While on their way to a weekend convention in Battle Creek, Michigan in March of 2018, Lori Bennetts and two other volleyball coaches were unexpectedly rear-ended on the freeway. Bennetts, of Bessemer, Mich., was a passenger in their GMC Terrain and suffered severe whiplash, only she didn’t realize it at the time. Their vehicle was damaged but drivable, so they continued on to the day-and-a-half long coaching convention.

“We pushed some of the fenders back into place and decided to keep going,” she said. “We made it there but we couldn’t sit comfortably. The drive back was even worse.”

Come Monday, Bennetts was back to work as the Chief Financial Officer for the Lac Vieux Desert Resort when she felt pins and needles on the top of her head. She sought treatment at a nearby clinic. Her primary care provider, Michele Harma, APNP, at the Aspirus Hurley Clinic, referred her for therapy. Bennetts started with chiropractic care and then physical therapy at the Aspirus Ironwood Clinic, yet one month later she could hardly turn her head or lift it up. Her condition limited her from enjoying mountain bike rides, playing and coaching volleyball, and simply feeling comfortable in her day-to-day routine without pain medications.

A new comfort option to consider.
“My neck and shoulders were so tight” she said. “While I was at therapy, one of the physical therapists asked if I ever thought about trying dry needling. To be honest, I didn’t even know what it was.”

No pun intended, Bennetts decided to “give it a shot.”

Aspirus Ironwood Physical Therapist Michael McPherson, DPT, explained that dry needling is a relatively new physical therapy intervention that when combined with traditional physical therapy can offer more comfort and improve function.

Dry needling can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, not limited to:

• Back and neck pain
• Shoulder and arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow)
• Headaches, including migraines and tension
• Jaw pain
• Buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms, plantar fasciitis)

Dry needling works by inserting a fine monofilament needling through the skin and into the deeper tissues that are trigger points for the patient’s pain. The fine needles create a small lesion in the inflamed and painful tissue, triggering a new healing response. Dry needling is different than acupuncture in that it’s not based on traditional Chinese Medicine but rather on Western medicine and uses the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics.

“It is believed that this technique also breaks up shortened tissues and changes the way the nervous system is interpreting pain signals in the treated area,” McPherson said. “By combining a local, mechanical effect and a more widespread neurological one, the body is given a greater chance to heal and hopefully reduce the patient’s pain.”

‘Back to full range of motion’
Immediately the next day, Bennetts could turn her neck.

“I could feel the improvement every time I went to my appointment,” she said. “It’s amazing what this has done for me. I’m back to full range of motion.”
Bennetts’ treatment outcome was so successful, she continues with dry needling appointments once every one or two weeks still today. Each session takes about 15 to 20 minutes. She even recommends friends and family try it out for their chronic aches and pains because she experienced such positive results. The best part about it was she no longer needed to take pain medications.

‘They treat you like they care because they do.’

Bennetts has been a patient at Aspirus for many years and said she couldn’t imagine going anywhere else for her care.

“One thing about Aspirus, everyone really takes the time to get to know you. You’re not just a person walking in the door,” Bennetts said. “They explain everything so clearly so that you understand all of your options. They treat you like they care because they do.”

Pictured is Lori Bennetts and her niece Abby Bennetts.

Dry needling is available at locations throughout the Aspirus system. To find a location near you, call the Aspirus Customer Contact Center at 1-800-847-4707.