Kelly Soyring's interest in pain therapies sprang from a desire to end her own chronic pain.

“I pretty much did this because I had to fix myself,” she says with a little laugh.

A volleyball player in high school and college, Soyring suffered injuries like torn ligaments and a repeatedly dislocated shoulder. For years afterward, she dealt with arm, hand and shoulder pain, as well as frequent headaches.

She saw a lot of doctors and tried all kinds of different treatments to manage her pain, but with limited success. The pain would never totally go away, and “the headaches would always come back,” she says.

Then a colleague of hers told her about dry needling, a treatment similar to acupuncture but targeted more directly at problem areas. Soyring gave it a shot, and it changed her life.

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“I had that (dry needling) done and I no longer have chronic headaches,” she says. “It took me four dry needling sessions to get to that point.”

Kelly Soyring, owner of Align Occupation Therapy LLC in Detroit Lakes. (Submitted Photo)
Kelly Soyring, owner of Align Occupation Therapy LLC in Detroit Lakes. (Submitted Photo)

Her shoulder and arm also felt stronger after those sessions, and she experienced less tingling in her hand. She was able to play volleyball again.

Dry needling had such a transformative effect on her that, in 2017, she became certified in the technique herself. She now offers dry needling to her patients at Align Occupational Therapy LLC in Detroit Lakes, believing they will benefit the way she did.

She opened Align in June, on the third floor of the Historic Holmes Theatre. This was after working for years as an occupational therapist at the White Earth Indian Health Center in Ogema.

Soyring is a registered and licensed occupational therapist, certified lymphedema therapist and certified manual trigger point therapist. She’s trained in craniosacral massage, joint mobilizations, myofascial release and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization.

She treats all ages, specializing in chronic pain, headaches, backaches, nerve pain and neck and upper extremity dysfunction. She works with a lot of young athletes, she says, as well as people dealing with migraines, painful scar tissue, fibromyalgia and all types of pain.

While dry needling is certainly not the only pain management technique she offers, she says it's her favorite — not only because it worked so well for her personally, but also because of how well it's worked for her patients. Soyring estimates that she’s dry needled 4,000 to 5,000 people since getting certified, and she’s seen how successful it can be.

“Almost everyone I’ve ever dry needled shows an improvement in range of motion right away; that’s why it’s my go-to treatment,” she says. “Most people feel better after.”

Dry needling explained

So what is dry needling? It involves inserting a thin, sterile filament needle into the skin, targeting specific irritable spots in the muscles of the body in order to ease pain and discomfort.

“It’s based on trigger point pain, like knots in the muscles or tight muscles affecting joint movement, whereas acupuncture treats meridians and pressure points throughout the body,” Soyring explains. “Acupuncture is from Eastern medicine, while dry needling is Western.”

It also differs from trigger point injections, which introduce medicine into the body for pain relief. Dry needling does not involve any medicines; in fact, the word “dry” in dry needling refers to the lack of “wet” medicine that is used in injections. Soyring says she prefers to keep medicines out of the body, and also to keep surgeries out of the picture, while treating pain.

“I want to be known as the person that people in Detroit Lakes go to before they have surgery, to try and avoid surgery,” she says. “And a lot of my patients do avoid it.”

Once she treats a patient’s pain, her focus is on helping them manage it long-term.

“The treatment’s important, but my goal is to help the patient carry it through, to get them out of pain then teach them how to stay out of pain,” she says.

Align Occupational Therapy

WHAT: Occupational therapy services, lymphedema therapy, manual trigger point therapy, craniosacral massage, joint mobilization, myofascial release and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization.

WHO: All pain patients

WHERE: On the third floor of the Historic Holmes Center, 806 Summit Ave.

WHEN: Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening hours available Tuesdays

MORE INFO: Call 218-850-3464, or visit www.facebook.com/kellysdryneedlingDL.