Dry needling for shoulder pain may be an excellent treatment strategy, but it really depends on what is causing the shoulder pain in the first place. Obviously, there are many causes of shoulder pain. This can feel overwhelming for some, as they try to figure out what has gone wrong. Yet, one of the most common causes of movement-related shoulder pain is imbalance of the muscles about the shoulder. This is “functional shoulder pain.” The pain is due to inefficient shoulder function. Efficient shoulder movement involves a precise balance of mobility and stability. Unfortunately, some muscles about the shoulder are prone to becoming overactive and cramping, while other muscles are inhibited and weak. This imbalance of muscle function can cause myofascial trigger points (wikipedia definition). Myofascial trigger points often cause shoulder pain. Additionally, the imbalance of muscle function places abnormal stress on the shoulder joint, mid back, and neck.
Often times, people with this type of shoulder pain feel a dull ache at rest, weakness and pain with active shoulder movement, and painful knots in the muscles around the shoulder and shoulder blade. Resting the shoulder from activity can avoid some of the pain, yet when someone gets back into normal activity, the pain returns. The muscle imbalance may continue for weeks to years. Prolonged shoulder dysfunction ultimately drives degenerative joint and postural changes in response to this abnormal stress over time.
What is Dry Needling for Shoulder Pain
Once your doctor at Cole Pain Therapy Group has diagnosed you with this type of shoulder dysfunction, functional dry needling is an excellent tool for addressing the shoulder muscle imbalance. Dry needling involves the use of a small needle to treat the myofascial trigger points resulting in the shoulder muscle imbalance. The goal of the dry needling therapy for shoulder pain is to produce a muscular twitch and subsequent relaxation of the painful knot in the shoulder muscle. This resets the neurological control at the nerve/muscle junction and also decreases the muscle-related shoulder pain. Dry needling for shoulder pain can be combined with other treatments as part of a comprehensive plan of chiropractic care. The goal is to facilitate appropriate shoulder motion. Then, a person can practice improved shoulder mobility with less pain and return to normal, pain-free shoulder function.