Dry Needling, Types of Exercise Count, Motor Skills For Chronic Back, and Blood Pressure & Dementi

CF 166: Dry Needling, Types of Exercise Count, Motor Skills For Chronic Back, and Blood Pressure & Dementia

Today we’re going to talk about Dry Needling, how the types of exercising count in the long run, we talk about Motor Skills For Chronic Back Pain, and we wrap it up with a paper on Blood Pressure & Dementia

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music


OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around.  

We’re the fun kind of research. The AC/DC, Motley Crew, Metallica kind of research. 

Not the stuffy, high-brow, Beethoven and Mozart kind of research. 

We’re research talk over a couple of beers. I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

If you haven’t yet I have a few things you should do. 

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You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #166 

Now if you missed last week’s episode, we talked about chiropractors working on kids. A controversial topic in some areas of the land and some professions don’t like chiropractors doing so. We talk about it. Check it out. You might learn something

Keep up with the class.  

On the personal end of things…..

Alright, if you listen regularly, you know I just lost my office manager of over 11 years to a little higher paying job. 

You know that my main computer that contains my whole life decided to take a dirt nap. It’s dead now. 

You know I have been up on the ropes a little here lately with slower numbers and all so let’s get into the nitty gritty here and see if we can make lemonade our of a crappy bunch of lemons, shall we?

Let’s start with the manager taking an exit. We can make these things positive or negative. I choose to make it a positive. Think about it; after 11 years, this person was by far my most highly paid employee. Probably overpaid honestly because I was trying to keep her happy. 

She had some difficulties financially at one point a couple of years ago so my wife and I created a marketing position for her so that we could justify paying her quite a bit more money per month while getting some marketing benefit out of it as well. 

So, not only was she highly paid for the office work, in addition, she made a good amount with the marketing side too. So, her leaving is an impact for sure. Not to mention the fact that she’s my buddy. She’s basically family. So it was an impact professionally but a bit personally. 

Here’s the thing though; do we let that paralyze us or do we make it positive? I make things positive when I can. Where are the positives here? 

Well, first thing is….I’m going to save a TON of money. Even when I get her replacement hired, I’m still getting about $1800 raise every month. Who the hell doesn’t want that kind of raise in their lives? Yes please, may I have another?

Also, with her having been out a bunch marketing, the other girls know how to do everything around the office that she used to do. That’s a big benefit. 

So, do we sit on that money or do we invest it? I invest. Remember, my ultimate goal is growth to the point I can remove myself and we do that be integrating and replacing me while making sure there are enough of alternatives to provide a comfortable retirement. 

Investing that money means it’s time to get off my tookus and integrate my practice. I’ve talked about it for years but never pulled the trigger. It’s time now and that’s what I’m doing. 

There is also the option of owning a Rural Health Clinic. That is on the table as well and I’ve got a call set up on Thursday to explore that option as well. 

Let’s say the RHC isn’t viable in Texas. OK, integration with the nurse prac is the path. I have an attorney in place and waiting on my to set it all up and I have a consulting company set up to help me get there. 

Here’s what I love about how life has created me. The best way to make sure I do something is to tell me that I can’t. The best way to see what I can do is to underestimate me or put me on the ropes and throw a few jabs. That’s when I tend to come out firing. 

I think we have to approach life like that every day but most definitely when life takes its jabs at our rib cage or our nethers. 

Instead of taking it, absorbing it, and letting it work us, come out firing on all cylinders. Prove yourself worthy of the things you really really desire 

Now, that doesn’t mean be stupid and financially dangerous. I take measured risks. I never jump off of cliffs. But, I have a pile of PPP money to pay employees and I just got an unexpected raise so now is the time to pounce. I may not have a chance quite like this again so let’s make it happen. And I will. 

The new computer will be here tomorrow. I’ve been without it for a couple of weeks now but, overall it hasn’t been too miserable. Macs have this cool thing called iCloud and a lot of my info including browser book marks and anything I had moved over just to my desktop screen….they’re all in iCloud so I started bringing my MacBook laptop to work and signed in and BAM….it was all there. I’m missing some important stuff but overall, I’ve been able to do the things I need to do. Including keeping up with this podcast. 

The big thing I’m behind on right now is keeping stats because it’s all in my computer memory. I’m working on a solution for that. For me and for you so keep your eyes and ears on the lookout for that in the coming months. You’ll see what I mean when I get it ready for you. That’s another good reason to be in our private Facebook group. I’ll be announcing it and the need for some beta testers and I’ll only make that available in the private group so make sure you’re in there for that special opportunity. 

In other big news, I got a call from Dr. James Lehman and he shared with me the existence of a Diplomate program called Forensics. I have to admit I’d never heard of it. He told me it’s a subspecialty of the Neuromusculoskeletal Diplomate. Which I already have. And he said that since I already have it, then to get the Forensics Diplomate, all I’d need to do is get 100 additional hours. It would break down into 60 hours online through ChiroCredit, 20 hours taking the AMA’s Impairment Rating course, and 20 hours in a conference in Chicago. 

Once completed, I would have the Diplomate in Forensics as well as the Neuromusculoskeletal Diplomate and I’d be able to command some hefty prices serving as a court expert and consultant. 

Well, that fit into the retirement plan doesn’t it? It’s not exactly retiring but it is getting our of the day to day, in-person tasks of daily patient treatment. Which is the goal eventually. And it fits that path. 

So, as you guessed, I’m signed up and have already knocked out about 2 hours of the 60. If you’ve been a listener since the start, you know that I gave you updates on the Neuromusculoskeletal Diplomate as I went through it. I told you all about it and what I was working on and learning. 

I plan on doing some of the same here for you on the Forensics thing. That way you’ll be able to learn more about it and might consider it for yourself. Plus, I’ll have Dr. Lehman come on in a future podcast and share more about it. 

The goal for the profession is to eventually get more and more chiropractors exploring the Diplomates and specializing. Raising the game of this profession one chiropractor at a time. 


Item #1

This first one is called “Is Dry Needling Effective for the Management of Spasticity, Pain, and Motor Function in Post-Stroke Patients? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” by Fernandez-de-las-Penas et. al. (1) and published in Pain Medicine on December 18, 2020 and that’s a lot hot in the pot!

Why They Did It

To evaluate the effects of muscle dry needling alone or combined with other interventions on post-stroke spasticity (muscle tone), related pain, motor function, and pressure sensitivity.

How They Did It

  • Electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials including post-stroke patients where at least one group received dry needling and outcomes were collected on spasticity and related pain
  • Secondary outcomes included motor function and pressure pain sensitivity
  • Data were extracted by two reviewers
  • 7 studies were included

What They Found

  • The meta-analysis found significantly large effect sizes of dry needling for reducing spasticity, post-stroke pain, and pressure pain sensitivity as compared with a comparative group at short-term follow-up
  • The effect on spasticity was found mainly in the lower extremity
  • No effect on spasticity was seen at 4 weeks
  • No significant effect on motor function
  • The risk of bias was generally low, but the imprecision of the results downgraded the level of evidence.

Wrap It Up

The authors ended it by saying, “Moderate evidence suggests a positive effect of dry needling on spasticity (muscle tone) in the lower extremity in post-stroke patients. The effects on related pain and motor function are inconclusive.”

Item #2

Our second on today is called “Effect of Motor Skill Training in Functional Activities vs Strength and Flexibility Exercise on Function in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial” by Van Dillen, et. Al (2) and published in JAMA Neurology on December 28, 2020 and it’s a lot hot in the pot as well. 

Why They Did It

For people with chronic, nonspecific low back pain, does person-specific motor skill training in functional activities result in better short-term and long-term outcomes than strength and flexibility exercise? You all know I love me some chronic pain research! I gobble it up like meat lover’s pizza. 

How They Did It

  • Single-blind, randomized clinical trial of people with chronic, nonspecific LBP
  • 149 participants
  • 12-month follow-up
  • Recruitment spanned December 2013 to August 2016
  • Testing and treatment were performed at an academic medical center
  • Participants received 6 weekly 1-hour sessions of motor skill training in functional activity performance or strength and flexibility exercise of the trunk and lower limbs
  • Half of the participants in each group received up to 3 booster treatments 6 months following treatment.
  • The primary outcome was the modified Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (MODQ) score (0%-100%) evaluated immediately, 6 months, and 12 months following treatment.

Wrap It Up

“People with chronic low back pain who received motor skill training had greater short-term and long-term improvements in function than those who received strength and flexibility exercise. 

Person-specific motor skill training in functional activities limited owing to low back pain should be considered in the treatment of people with chronic low back pain”

Item #3

Item 3 is called “Association of Physical Activity Intensity With Mortality A National Cohort Study of 403 681 US Adults” by Wang et. al. (3) and published in JAMA Internal Medicine on November 23, of 2020. It’s a skootch steamy, Sir!

Why They Did It

They asked the question, “Is vigorous physical activity associated with additional mortality risk reduction compared with moderate physical activity?” Great question. I’ve been working out but wouldn’t it be nice if moderate was just as effective as rigorous? I say it would be. So let’s see how it plays out. 

How They Did It

  • Cohort study
  • 403,681 adults from the National Health Interview Survey 1997-2013. Hello big, large sample size!
  • provided data on self-reported physical activity and were linked to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2015.
  • Statistical analysis was performed from May 15, 2018, to August 15, 2020.

Wrap It Up

“This study suggests that, for the same volume of moderate physical activity, a higher proportion of vigorous physical activity to total physical activity was associated with lower all-cause mortality. Clinicians and public health interventions should recommend 150 minutes or more per week of moderate physical activity but also advise on the potential benefits associated with vigorous physical activity to maximize population health.”

Dammit, looks like it’s as I feared. Vigorous is superior. Which honestly is pretty obvious but I was hoping for the keys to the kingdom with as little work as possible. 

Item #4

The last one is called “Association of Blood Pressure Lowering With Incident Dementia or Cognitive Impairment A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” by Hughes, et. al. (4) and published in JAMA on May 19, of 2020 and I say it’s hot enough, fools. Stand back!

Why They Did It

The authors asked the question, “Is there an association between blood pressure lowering with antihypertensive therapy and the incidence of dementia or cognitive impairment?” 

We are answering so many good questions today, people!!

How They Did It

  • Meta-analysis 
  • Search of PubMed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL for randomized clinical trials published from database inception through December 31, 2019, that evaluated the association of blood pressure lowering on cognitive outcomes
  • The control groups consisted of either placebo, alternative antihypertensive agents, or higher blood pressure targets.
  • Data were screened and extracted independently by 2 authors
  • The primary outcome was dementia or cognitive impairment. 
  • The secondary outcomes were cognitive decline and changes in cognitive test scores.

Wrap It Up

“In this meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, blood pressure lowering with antihypertensive agents compared with control was significantly associated with a lower risk of incident dementia or cognitive impairment.”

So, besides stroke and other similar dangers, add dementia and cognitive abilities to the list of reasons to keep blood pressure in check. 

Alright, that’s it. Y’all be safe. Keep changing our profession from your little corner of the world. Keep taking care of yourselves and everyone around you. Tough times are upon us but, the sun will shine again. Trust it, believe it, count on it. Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week. 


Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at chiropracticforward.com. 

The Message 

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots. When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few. It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient. And, if the patient treats preventatively after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point: 

At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints…. That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show and tell us your suggestions for future episodes.  Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on podcast platforms.  We know how this works by now. If you value something, you have to share it, interact with it, review it, talk about it from time to time, and actively hit a few buttons to support it here and there when asked. It really does make a big difference. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.



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About the Author & Host 

Dr. Jeff Williams – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger



  1. César Fernández-de-las-Peñas, PT, PhD, Albert Pérez-Bellmunt, PT, PhD, Luis Llurda-Almuzara, PhD, Gustavo Plaza-Manzano, PT, PhD, Ana I De-la-Llave-Rincón, PT, PhD, Marcos J Navarro-Santana, PT, MSc, Is Dry Needling Effective for the Management of Spasticity, Pain, and Motor Function in Post-Stroke Patients? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Pain Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 131–141, https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnaa392
  2. van Dillen LR, Lanier VM, Steger-May K, et al. Effect of Motor Skill Training in Functional Activities vs Strength and Flexibility Exercise on Function in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Neurol. Published online December 28, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.4821
  3. Wang Y, Nie J, Ferrari G, Rey-Lopez JP, Rezende LFM. Association of Physical Activity Intensity With Mortality: A National Cohort Study of 403 681 US Adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(2):203–211. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.6331
  4. Hughes D, Judge C, Murphy R, et al. Association of Blood Pressure Lowering With Incident Dementia or Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2020;323(19):1934–1944. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4249

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