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Blackwell shows Rotary two dry needling techniques

VALLEY — Physical therapist Erin Blackwell of Elite Rehab Solutions talked about dry needling at a recent meeting of the West Point Rotary Club. During the club’s noon-hour meeting on Thursday, she demonstrated the technique on two volunteers. She placed several needles into the right forearm of Rotary Club member Brian Aplin and several in the back of fellow Elite Rehab Associate Marissa Elio.

It looks squeamish to put needles into someone, but the person being injected hardly feels it. When done by a trained therapist like Blackwell, dry needling can relieve tightness, increase blood flow, re-set muscle tone and target tissues that are hard to reach.

“It can target trigger points to create change in the body,” Blackwell said. “It can help people who have golfer or tennis elbow or who are recovering from rotator cuff surgery. It stimulates the body’s own healing process.”

It’s also a good way to relieve headaches and backaches. It’s considered especially good for people who are suffering with arthritis.

A physical therapist never blindly sticks a needle in someone. They have a thorough knowledge of anatomy and know exactly where to place a needle and what kind of needle to use.

“Most people like it,” Blackwell said. “It’s a quick and effective technique. As a physical therapist, I want to know why people are having the problems they are having and what we can do to help them. A lot of people who come to us are having pain from the repetitive movements they are doing in their jobs. We can help them with that pain.”

The needles very rarely draw blood.

“Out of every 15 needles I place, I may get a single drop of blood, and we can easily take care of that,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell is a hands-on kind of person.

“I need to put my hands on every patient to understand their needs,” she said. “Every person has different kinds of needs. We can help most anyone with musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain.”

Located behind Burger King in Valley, the local office of Elite Rehab Solutions treats an average of 60 people each week. Blackwell would like to get that up to 80 people a week by this fall.

The company is owned by four physical therapists and has local offices over a broad region. There are 14 offices in the east-central Alabama-west central Georgia region.

“We see lots of athletes from Auburn University and the local high schools at our office in Auburn,” Blackwell said. “There are six therapists on the staff there.”