RecoverRx Performance and Recovery Blog
This blog is dedicated to all things from recovery to performance. Our industry expert Physical Therapists provide evidence based information and opinions educating our readers on how to optimize their health in order to be able to overcome injuries and live the life they were meant to live!
By Dr. Luke Greenwell, PT, DPT, CSMT, CSCS
Can dry needling help my shoulder injury? Dry Needling can be a very effective treatment strategy for men and women with musculoskeletal pain including rotator cuff injuries with or without tears.
What is Dry Needling??
Dry needling treatment involves insertion of solid (non-hypodermic) needles into the muscle or fascia below the skin. “Dry” refers to the fact that there is no medication in the needle. There has been plenty of research to support dry needling (also known as trigger point dry needling, intramuscular dry needling, and needling) as an effective way for Licensed Practitioners (Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Physicians, and Acupuncturists) to:
There has been a historical misconception that dry needling is used only for patients with myofascial trigger points as a way to “release the trigger point.” However, recent evidence is out there to support other neurophysiological mechanisms for pain relief and muscle tension reduction.
In fact, we use Dry Needling in many of our patients as a way to increase muscle activation and biomechanical feedback when attempting to retrain normal movement patterns and increase strength in the injured extremity.
What is the Rotator Cuff and How can it get Injured?
Rotator cuff injuries including tears are some of the most common causes of disability across the globe. The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles (infraspinatus, teres minor, supraspinatus, and subscapularis) that in isolation can perform different movements of the shoulder but in conjunction have the main function of stabilizing the head of the humerus (ball) in the glenoid (socket) to avoid asymmetrical loading on different tissues that help stabilize the shoulder.
Rotator cuff injuries can either be traumatic (falls, weightlifting, or throwing) or chronic degeneration (small tears that add up over time). Once the rotator cuff is compromised, the normal biomechanical movement properties of the shoulder are affected and can lead to pain, weakness, and compensatory movement strategies. In many cases, strains and small to medium tears can heal with the right treatment strategies but in some cases, with large tears surgery is warranted. I won’t be covering surgical recovery cases in this article, but will mostly focus on how we utilize Dry Needling in our Rehab for our patients with rotator cuff strains or small to medium tears.
How Do We Utilize Dry Needling to Treat Rotator Cuff Injuries?
Let’s talk about how we address these injuries in the clinic while utilizing Dry Needling as a therapy. The most important start to our process is to develop an accurate working diagnosis of rotator cuff injury via a comprehensive shoulder evaluation. From there we are able to identify
Typically after 1 session of dry needling (this can involve multiple needle insertions to multiple muscles) we do see a very immediate change. With that being said, we typically need multiple sessions over the course of a couple weeks. We like to educate that there will be some soreness in the areas where we see a significant response (known as a muscle twitch response).
What do I need after I receive Needling treatment?
After the dry needling is performed to the identified areas, we can use the rest of the session to focus on:
This Strategy Works!
It’s a tried and true strategy that has worked for thousands of patients we have seen for shoulder pain and although every patient is different, we find this system to be very effective in helping patients recover from rotator cuff injuries. Our 3 step process of Recover (from painful limitations), Rebuild (functional movement patterns) and Redefine (future strength and performance) could never be more true for our patients with rotator cuff injuries.
Check out this videos of a Dry Needling Technique: www.youtube.com/shorts/cfXC0UI6xGY. To see even more, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Follow us on social media @recoverrxpt.
If you would like more information on our approach to treating shoulder pain in addition to rotator cuff injuries, please feel free to reach out to us via email at email@example.com.
Thanks again for checking in and be on the lookout for our next Badass Blog!
Use Every Setback As A Comeback!
Breathwork certainly has received a lot of attention in the fitness and health scene in the past few years, and for good reason. Diaphragmatic breathing, which involves allowing your diaphragm and abdominal muscles to move with your inhales and exhales, has been shown to have positive mental and physical health outcomes. When it comes to strengthening the muscles in your core in order to move well and prevent injury, your breath is an essential piece of the puzzle. Creating and maintaining proper intra-abdominal pressure helps protect your spine, and this pressure has a lot to do with your breath.
When you breathe in, your goal is to use your primary inspiration muscles. These include your diaphragm and the muscles that connect your ribs. Instead, many people use more of their secondary muscles - the muscles in and around your neck and chest - to breathe in, which can cause tightness in the shoulders, tension in the neck, and even hand numbness. By focusing on utilizing your primary inspiration muscles when you breathe in, along with gently bracing your abdominals and engaging your pelvic floor when you exhale, you are setting yourself up with a breathing pattern that supports you both at rest and while exercising, keeping your body both efficient and safe.
Have you ever held your breath during a tough exercise or while lifting something heavy? It can be a natural response in the body. By mindfully incorporating a diaphragmatic breath (inhaling to prepare, exhaling on the exertion), you not only protect yourself from back injuries, but you also help keep your intra-abdominal pressure regulated to avoid injuries like hernias, pelvic organ prolapse, and diastasis recti. If that doesn’t motivate you enough, your deep breath helps you engage and utilize your abdominals more than if you hold your breath or only breathe with your secondary inspiration muscles, which helps your core be even stronger.
Correcting a shallow breathing pattern can take time, so be patient and practice daily to establish a new pattern. To practice, find a comfortable place to sit with your spine tall or lie on your back. Place your hands on the sides of your rib cage, thumbs behind you and four fingers wrapping around front. Take an inhale, intentionally expanding into your hands, allowing your inhale to travel down and gently expand your belly and relax your pelvic floor. Your diaphragm will move down along with it. As you exhale, think about gently guiding your hands in, bracing your belly, and gently lifting and contracting your pelvic floor. Repeat 10 times.
Your breath is truly the foundation of everything you do, and when you establish a proper breathing pattern, it can help with many other processes and movements of the body as well, allowing your core muscles to fire for stabilization and support.
If you feel like you need more help with coordinating your breath, core, and pelvic floor, reach out to us today to schedule a FREE discovery visit!
What's going on everyone!!
If you've found my blog for the first time, Welcome! If you've read my material before, welcome back and I hope you enjoy. Today, I'm bloggin about optimizing recovery!!
We all know that recovery following high-level intensity exercise or athletic performance is one of the most important things to do to grow as an Competitive Athlete, Olympic lifter, CrossFitter or everyday person looking to excel in the gym or on the field. There's a ton of literature and research out there on how to recover properly, but a lot of it varies, and there's not really any set step by step system to tell you how to recover right. However, there are some very very common and well-supported things that you should be doing, and I'm going to tell you about them right now. These are three things you should be focusing on to optimizing your recovery following a high intensity workout that you can implement today!!!
1. Hydration Recovery. Hydrate and restore your electrolyte balance for the next 48-72 hours. During a long duration >30 minute workout you need carbohydrate and electrolyte replenishment. Following a high intensity workout where you sweat a great deal, you need to be consuming at least half your body weight in ounces for the day. This should be planned out before your workouts for the week. Don't try to play CATCH UP, it doesn't work. Once you start implementing a plan for that hydration recovery it will become a common part of your programming. On a very basic framework, that's hydration and fueling. We all know this, but we don't do it all the time, and I am just as guilty as the next person and continue to work to improve my hydration and nutrition.
Dr. Luke Greenwell, Dr. David Bokermann, Dr. Sarah Greenwell, & Dr. Ariel Sernek are Performance Based Physical Therapists with extensive backgrounds in treating the injured athlete. At RecoverRx, they are passionate about returning people to the sports & activities they love. Check out more about them by visiting our About Us page.