How Dry Needling Can Heal Painful or Tender Muscles

Jul 12, 2017

Doug Howard

by Doug Howard
PT, MPT | Owner of the Arrowhead Location

Dry needling, or trigger point dry needling, is an incredibly effective form of myofascial release. In the simplest terms, this means loosening up tight muscle and connective tissue structures. At Foothills Sports Medicine, we have many specialists trained in dry needling as a leg or shoulder pain treatment.
Keep in mind, muscles are made up of long fibers that run parallel to each other; they constantly shorten and lengthen as we move. In all people, and for a wide variety of reasons, sections of these fibers can become too tight and may not move properly. This localized movement restriction, often referred to as a trigger point, is a source of pain for many.
Taking a broader view of what this restriction means, consider that these fibers connect at both ends to either a bone or a joint. So not only is the trigger point a potential source of pain, the restriction can also restrict movement at each of the attachment sites!
Think of it this way: Picture a two-foot length of rope. Tying a knot in the rope doesn’t change that its still two feet in length, but it won’t work the same way. Muscles/muscle fibers work in very much the same way.
Many people believe that stretching is the solution, but in most cases, it’s not enough. First, you have to actually incorporate a consistent stretching program with targeted stretches. But, think about it like this, if you tied a knot in a bungee cord, and then gave it a stretch, the cord would be stretched but the knot wouldn’t go away! This is where dry needling comes in to address the problem more directly.
Dry needling involves directly inserting a filament wire needle into a muscle. Though a complex neural mechanism, a local muscle contraction occurs when a needle is inserted, effectively releasing movement restrictions, and restoring the ability of the fiber to reach maximum length. When the muscle lengthens fully the associated bone and joint structures will move freely again!
Dry needling is an amazing treatment for any condition where there is myofascial compromise. Dry needling is a very powerful treatment, and offers an effective and fast-acting shoulder pain treatment solution.
Muscle pain can severely limit movement and function. In many cases, dry needling has the amazing capacity to restore lost movement immediately. Keep in mind that dry needling does not inject medication, it is simply a tool to directly address muscle restriction. In the same way that a massage therapist might dig into a muscle with their thumbs, palms, or elbows, a qualified physical therapist uses a filament wire needle to release muscle tension in a way nothing else can!
Contact us if you have any questions about dry needling, or schedule an appointment at a Foothills clinic near you.

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