Many of us have a love/hate relationship with needling, I absolutely love the results when I get treated, and when I treat my patients, pain is eased so fast! Yet! in some areas it can be temporarily painful to be needled. We have to weigh up a bit of unpleasantness to get incredible results and ease pain long term.
How Dry Needling Can Improve Our Performance
Needling is shown to improve mobility and performance in muscles. You can run easier, jump higher, reach further, and post-treatment needling can even enhance your sporting performance.
Needling the calves improves my jump height and speed for tennis.
Needling my shoulder lets my golf swing flow, increasing my drive distance, while I can also bench press heavier weights.
Needling my neck muscles gets rid of my pain while working on the computer or carrying my shopping.
Needling my back muscles takes away pain from sitting or lifting. I have more mobility and agility on the tennis court.
I hope you enjoy the results as much as I do & you see a marked improvement in your performance either in everyday life or on the court or pitch.
So, how does Dry Needling work?
Dry needling targets myofascial trigger points to alter your body's pain response. Myofascial trigger points can consist of multiple contraction knots, thought to be due to an excessive release of acetylcholine from select end plates. They are generated by overuse, overstretching, or overloading of a muscle.
There are 2 types-Active and Latent.
An active trigger point can spontaneously trigger local pain in the vicinity of the trigger point or can refer pain or paraesthesia to more distant locations. They cause muscle weakness, range of motion restrictions and several autonomic phenomena.
Latent triggers do not cause pain without being stimulated, but they alter muscle activation patterns and contribute to a limited range of movement. Factors such as trauma, temperature changes, and poor posture can contribute to latent triggers.
When a needle releases a trigger point improved mobility and decreased pain can be immediate. Typically the muscle feels achy for a few days – pain relief, stretching and icing may be recommended. Usually an increase in flexibility is immediate. It can take 24-48 hours to see an improvement in your pain. You may be tired after the treatment and may need to rest after, this depends on the release achieved and how long the muscle has been in the pain cycle. It may take a few sessions to gain a lasting positive effect. We are trying to cause mechanical, biochemical and neurological changes, therefore we are looking for a cumulative response to deactivate trigger points, disrupt pain and restore optimal muscle function.
Dry needling is an excellent fast effective treatment, if you don’t mind a few minutes of pain to gain long-term muscle release & pain relief.
Doing exercises to re-educate and strengthen the damaged muscle is a very important part of getting you back to full function & performance. When we have released the muscle knot with the needle we then need to strengthen the muscle back to full function.
Over time the muscle knot may form again as you use it & perhaps abuse it... we all over-exert ourselves sometimes. Maintenance treatments are advised for this reason. This releases the knots before they cause pain and a significant lack of function. Allowing you to keep mobile, improve your sporting performance and avoid pain.