Does this sound familiar to you? “There’s that pain again, but I have to go for a run. It only hurts a little bit, so I should be okay.” Then you leave for your run and it starts hurting around the first mile. With each step, you have an inner conversation going on with yourself.“I have to finish, I’m already a mile out, I have to keep going.” Your injury (no matter where it is) starts to hurt more but you ‘run through it’ because it’s not that bad. If this sounds like you, you have a lot in common with other runners that are on the road and see me at OrthoCore. The good news for you is that it does not have to be this way. You can pound the pavement and keep that pain in check with dry needling.
Some of you may have heard of dry needling, some of you may have even had it performed on you. Most of you reading this right now probably think I’m talking about some kind of medieval torture. To ease your minds, let’s talk about what dry needling is, and how it can help you with your nagging injuries.
Dry needling uses small, fine filament needles, to release trigger points (muscle knots). The trigger points in your body are what are most likely causing the pain when you run. Trigger points restrict movement, and lead to compensations, which can lead to joint and tendon pain. The trigger points themselves also have a pain pattern that can cause the pain you feel within your muscles with running.
A typical treatment starts with an evaluation to see what movement restrictions you have and which trigger points could be leading to the issues. The clinician will then insert a fine filament needle into the area of the muscle where the trigger point is sitting. We are trying to get a “twitch” response which helps to release the trigger point. Some clinicians also use e-stim to help elicit a better relaxation of the muscle and lessen the pain sensation. After the treatment the therapist will re-check your movement to be sure that a change has been made. They will then prescribe some corrections that will help you move better, run better, and prevent the problems from returning.
Author’s Note: I underwent Dry Needling earlier this year (that’s my leg in the video) after being told that I would not be able to run again due to pain from Chronic Patella Tendinitis. A course of Dry Needling, combined with conventional physical therapy, got me running again with the pain being greatly reduced. I will be revisiting Dry Needling in the Fall to seek further improvement.
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