What Are The Benefits of Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique that involves inserting thin, sterile, single use needles into muscle to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. The needles used in dry needling are similar to those used in acupuncture, but the techniques and theories behind the two practices are different.

The goal of dry needling is to alleviate pain and muscle tension by releasing trigger points, that can cause pain and restrict movement. By inserting needles into these trigger points or along nerve distributions it can reduce tension by changing electrical activity in the trigger point, create biochemical changes in the muscle and change the way pain is processed by the brain.

Some potential benefits of dry needling may include:

Pain Relief

Dry needling can help reduce pain in the affected area through the changes in the local muscle and in the central nervous system.

Improved Range of Motion

By releasing tight muscles, dry needling can help improve flexibility and range of motion in the affected area.

Improved Muscle Function

Dry needling can stimulate muscle fibers, leading to improved muscle function and strength.

Improved Mood

Some people report feeling a sense of relaxation and reduced stress after dry needling sessions.

Precautions

It's important to note that certain medical conditions are contraindications to dry needling due to the potential risks and complications associated with the technique. These include but not limited to a current or recent infection, the use of blood thinning or immunosuppressant medications, a history of blood borne or vascular disease, a history of cancer, metal allergies and pregnancy. It's important for these to be cleared before it is selected as a manual therapy technique.

The most common side effects immediately post-dry needling may include muscle soreness, fatigue and bruising. The intensity of these side effects generally reduce with each consecutive treatment. These side effects are temporary and are well tolerated by most people, normally resolving by the next day.

Just like all manual treatment, it should be coupled with strength, mobility, motor control or proprioceptive exercises to address the root cause of the problem.

Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John surgery, also known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed on baseball pitchers and other athletes who use their throwing arm frequently. The surgery involves replacing a damaged or torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow with a graft tendon from elsewhere in the body.

There are several contributing factors to Tommy John injuries, including:

1. Overuse

Throwing too much or too frequently can lead to stress on the ulnar collateral ligament, which can eventually lead to tears or other damage.

2. Improper Mechanics

Poor throwing mechanics can also contribute to stress on the ulnar collateral ligament.

3. Genetics

Some people may be predisposed to ulnar collateral ligament injuries due to quality of tissue.

4. Strength and Range of Motion Imbalances

Shoulder mechanics, reduced strength and range of motion can increase stress on the medial elbow during throwing, increase risk of experiencing ulnar collateral ligament injuries.

Prevention of Tommy John injuries involves a focus on proper throwing mechanics, limiting throwing volume and intensity, and incorporating strength and conditioning exercises to improve arm strength and flexibility. It's also important to recognize the signs of fatigue and manage throwing loads as needed to prevent overuse injuries. Baseball coaches, Strength & Conditioning Coaches, Physiotherapists, and athletes should work together to develop and implement a comprehensive injury prevention program.

Rehabilitation following Tommy John surgery typically involves a structured program of physical therapy and exercises designed to help the patient regain strength and flexibility in the elbow and arm. The rehabilitation process is approximately 12 months, and the patient will likely need to work closely with a physical therapist and other medical professionals to ensure a successful recovery.

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