When on the path to recovery from musculoskeletal injuries and dysfunction, or further improving overall function, it is always important to remember the three R’s — reset, reinforce, reload. The reset is any manual intervention used to address the issue at hand. It is usually passive, and can include treatments like muscle releases, massage, adjustments, joint mobilizations or acupuncture.
Once the symptoms have reduced or resolved, it is crucial to reinforce whatever improvements we’ve obtained in the clinic. Otherwise, symptoms may return or manifest through other issues. Examples would include posture correction, modifying the workspace ergonomically, or taping up a joint to improve stability.
Lastly, we need to reload the body through corrective exercises in order to maintain and enhance function. All 3 R’s are equally as important, but the reset will be the focus of this entry. Namely, a treatment technique commonly known as dry needling.
So what is Dry Needling?
Dry needling, in short, is a powerful needling technique (not to be confused with conventional acupuncture!) that resets the nervous system through the deactivation of trigger points, leading to the resolution of all kinds of pains and dysfunctions. It consists of multiple insertions of a thin filament needle into the target muscle(s), which can be anywhere in the body. Soreness after treatment is normal and usually lasts 1-2 days.
Trigger points, which can be identified through palpation as tender and tight rope-like bands in muscle tissue, are involved in practically all cases of musculoskeletal problems (sprains, strains, numbness, tingling, muscular weakness, muscular tightness, the list goes on).
To provide an example, trigger points commonly develop in the ‘yoke’ muscles that sit between the neck and the shoulders, also known as the upper trapezius, due to stress, poor posture and overuse. This can be the culprit to common problems like tension headaches, shoulder and upper back pain, and radiating symptoms down the arm.
Dry needling these trigger points is a very effective method to dissolve the muscle tension and alleviate the associated symptoms. Following this type of treatment, an appropriate reinforce and reload strategy would then be provided to maximize recovery.
If you are looking for a walk in clinic & physiotherapist in Toronto then look no further than Integra Health Centre!