The combination of manual therapy and exercise to improve function is the foundation of our philosophy at Performance Therapies.
Manual therapy is the treatment of our soft tissue and joints to improve mobility and change the input into our muscles and nerves to retrain more efficient movement in exercise. Manual therapy techniques may include soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization and manipulation, and dry needling.
Loss of Movement
When our bodies experience injury, stress, disuse, or a repetitive negative posture or activity our movement patterns change. This change leads to dysfunction and/or loss in mobility of our joints and muscles.
At Performance Therapies, we use manual therapy to regain movement and exercise to re-educate more efficient movement. As a result, our patients experience improved function, decreased pain, and an increase in performance.
Dry needling is the use of a thin filiform needle to stimulate underlying trigger points, and muscular and connective tissue. We provide dry needling to help our patients manage pain and improve mobility impairment. Dry needling is one tool that can be very effective in restoring function, especially when used in conjunction with other manual therapies and corrective exercises.
Dry needling is typically used to treat trigger points. A trigger points is a taut band of muscle or tissue that is tender to palpation and has experienced chemical changes. Trigger points lead to dysfunction in a muscle and can develop for a number of different reasons. One reason is injury to a muscle, which can result in:
- Chemical changes
- Prolonged muscle shortening
- Decreased circulation
- Increased sensitivity of the sensory nerve
Disuse, or repetitive postures with a muscle in a shortened or lengthened position can also cause trigger points due to decreased circulation, shortening and sensory impairment.
Another way trigger points may develop is entrapment of a nerve due to arthritic or stenotic changes in the spine leading to decreased nerve signals, hypersensitivity in the neural pathway and muscular banding. As trigger points develop they can be a very significant source of pain and loss of function.
Studies have shown that when stimulated with a dry needle, these trigger points will create a twitch response and release the sustained contraction. This causes an increase in mobility which can then be re-educated with exercise and function can be restored. The release of the trigger point can also decrease the hypersensitivity of the sensory nerve and improve pain.
Start Improving Function with Dry Needling
In summary, dry needling can be an effective treatment of pain and loss of mobility as well as a way to improve function and performance, especially when paired with exercise. Dry needling is offered as a treatment at our Coralville, Cedar Rapids and Kalona locatins. Talk to your physical therapist about dry needling or request an appointment to get started today!