Pain Management Rehabilitation - Milwaukee, WI - Ascension Wisconsin

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Pain Management Services

Chronic pain involves all aspects of your life. Wheaton Franciscan Rehabilitation Services understands. Our expert team can help you learn how to manage your pain, provide symptom relief and the support you need to get back to doing the things you love most.

Dry Needling

Targeted Relief for Muscle Pain

At some point in our lives, we all will experience muscle pain. The pain is usually short-lived and can be treated effectively with the right therapies.

For some, however, the pain can be persistent and affect their quality of life. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Rehabilitation Services offers new hope for people suffering from chronic or recurring muscle pain.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a pain reduction technique that targets pain trigger points. A trigger point consists of small knots within a muscle that are often tense or sore to touch. During a dry needling treatment, a needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a trigger point. Dry needling can be used at any point during a course of care to reduce pain and improve muscle function.

Dry needling is one option for targeting muscles that are overworked and need to be “reset;” therefore, dry needling is often used early in your therapy. Once the muscle has been reset, your therapist will work with you using other techniques, such as stretching, ergonomics, and exercise to retrain your body to maintain a normal state and restore optimal function for your everyday life.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

When the needle is inserted into the muscle, it causes the muscle to “twitch” or tighten and then relax. By allowing the muscle to relax, blood can flow more freely to the area which helps in healing. Typically, it takes several treatments over separate visits for a treatment to take full effect.

Most patients do not feel the insertion of the needle. When the needle enters the trigger point, you may feel a brief painful sensation. After treatment, you may feel some muscle soreness at the trigger point.

States vary on who can perform dry needling. The licensed physical therapists at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare have advanced training in the technique of dry needling and are licensed to include its use as part of their treatment plan in the state of Wisconsin.

Who Can Benefit from Dry Needling?

Those with musculoskeletal problems, including but not limited to:

  • Buttock and leg pain (sciatica, hamstring strains, calf tightness/spasms).
  • Jaw pain
  • Migraine headaches and tension headaches
  • Neck and back
  • Shoulder and arm (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow)

How is Dry Needling Different than Acupuncture?

Dry needling is based on Western medicine and targets specific points in the muscles that are causing the pain. Acupuncture is more holistic and is used for a wider range of conditions. Wheaton’s physical therapists are not licensed acupuncturists and do not practice acupuncture.


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a multi-factorial disease which involves both physical and psychological factors. FMS is characterized by widespread pain and muscle tenderness, but can be accompanied by other symptoms as well. Individuals affected typically have persistent pain that lasts for at least 3 months in several different areas of the body.

Affected areas include neck and upper or middle back.

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed

There are classification criteria which were established by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990:

  • History of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of 3 months
  • Pain in at least 11 of the 18 designated tender points when a specified amount of pressure is applied
  • New diagnostic criteria established in 2010 now focuses on widespread pain that is accompanied by symptoms such as sleep disorders, problem with thinking clearly and fatigue

Physician/MD Role

Individuals with FMS typically look healthy and conventional tests are typically normal, therefore a physician who is knowledgeable about the disorder is essential in the diagnosis of FMS.

Physicians will help rule out other causes of the symptoms before diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy

Physical or occupational therapy is often useful to help ease fibromyalgia pain and to teach self-management skills through the following techniques:

  • Improve mobility and relieve pain through graded exercise program facilitating stretching and strengthening exercises specific to each patient. Use of pain education (therapeutic neuromatrix education) in order to take control of both physical and psychological influences on pain.
  • Prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities
  • Manage trigger points through techniques such as:
    • Manual therapy
    • Dry needling
    • Other modalities
Therapists will work one-on-one with patients in order to help restore overall fitness and health.

Massage Therapy

Massage offers skilled, compassionate touch by professionally trained therapists. All Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare massage therapists are graduates of an accredited school and are licensed by the State of

Massage is beneficial to men andwomen of all ages. Some
documented benefits are:

  • Increased joint flexibility
  • Improved immune system response
  • Improved circulation
  • Strengthened muscle tone
  • Reduced mental and physical fatigue
  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased chronic tension and pain
Types of Massage Offered
  • Swedish Massage
  • Deep Tissue
  • Myofacial Release
  • Reflexology

Appointment Lengths

Massage appointments range from 30 to 90 minutes. Basic heated stone massages are scheduled for 60 minutes.


Massage therapy is offered at our Rehabilitation Services clinics on Layton Avenue in Milwaukee and S. 27th Street in Franklin. Services vary from site to site.

To learn more about massage therapy, pricing, confirm services and to schedule an appointment, please call 414-389-3023 in Milwaukee and 414-325-4850 in Franklin.

No tipping is allowed at any Wheaton Franciscan massage facility.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Dysfunction Treatment

Physical Therapy is of benefit for patients experiencing TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction. Physical therapists at Wheaton Franciscan Rehabilitation Services, in collaboration with doctors and dentists, can assist you in decreasing pain and increasing function.

Our Services

  • Modalities such as ultrasound and iontophoresis to decrease pain and inflammation as well as improve jaw movement
  • Joint and soft tissue mobilization to restore jaw mobility
  • Posture education for proper cervical position and jaw relaxation
  • Individualized self help recommendations and exercise instruction

Our Experience

  • Non-surgical TMJ dysfunction resulting from dental pathology, poor jaw biomechanics, or trauma
  • Post-surgical cases such as disc and total joint replacement

Physical therapy for TMJ is a covered service by most third party payors under medical coverage. Our insurance consultant can assist you to achieve maximum benefits.

For More Information

For further information or to make a referral, please call us at one of our convenient outpatient rehabilitation services locations.

Care Locations