The shoulder is one of the most complex areas in the body to work on. Due to the versatile nature of the shoulder, modern shoulder surgery isn’t a viable option for many patients hoping to restore motion and relieve pain. As the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body, it is important to use treatment that help to improve range of motion. Rotator cuff injuries are a normal injury we see at Layton Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine. We provide multiple treatments to help reduce pain and inflammation, and restore motion to the rotator cuff. One treatment we have found to be highly successful is dry needling.
What is Dry Needling for Rotator Cuff Pain?
Dry needling is used to treat a variety of muscle conditions throughout the body. A small filament needle is gently inserted through the skin and into the muscle where there is a myofascial trigger point. A trigger point is a hard “knot” within the body that is causing pain to an area, in this situation, it is pain in the rotator cuff. However, we may find the knot is in a different area and causing pain to radiate in the shoulder. Dry needling helps to release the tight muscle bands and will help to decrease pain and improve function.
Why Rotator Cuff Pain Occurs
Rotator cuffs are used frequently and the tendon does not receive a good blood supply. Repetitive use of the rotator cuff will lead to issues from strain or a complete tear. Symptoms of pain vary as they could begin as a dull throbbing in the shoulder while others report intense pain all over the front and outer aspect of the shoulder. Discomfort often increases when performing daily activities. Simple things like reaching over your head or across your check in a repetitive manner can cause excruciating pain.
The rotator cuff has a difficult time healing on its own as it does not have the blood supply like other areas in the body. Without a great blood supply, it is challenging for the muscles to receive the proper nutrition and healing they need to start repairing itself. Dry needling will stimulate the body’s natural healing response by way of secretion of proteins and the blood factors needed to start repairing damaged tissue.
Non-Invasive Treatments for Rotator Cuff Pain
Patients who are dealing with pain, but maintain a decent amount of shoulder function are normally good candidates for a variety of non-operative treatments. While ice/heat, rest, and stretching are commonly used by patients, we recommend contacting our Layton physical therapy office to discuss dry needling and other manual therapy options. Dr. Alan Kerbs will evaluate the extent of your injury to determine the best therapy method available. If you or someone you know needs therapy for rotator cuff injury, contact Layton Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine today.