A new way to soothe sore muscles
- Posted on: Jan 28 2014
You might have heard about an acupuncture-like technique that’s so effective at soothing sore muscles that five NFL football teams—including the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins—are now using it.
Known as dry needling, it involves inserting thin needles into areas of irritated tissue known as trigger points. It appears to work by causing a minor injury to the muscle, which signals the body to replace or repair the damaged tissue with healthy tissue. Needling a painful area will often cause the muscle to twitch, which may help reduce inflammation and improve circulation. Result? An improvement in your range of motion. The benefits appear to be immediate, but there is a downside: You may experience temporary soreness and weakness afterward.
The Washington Redskins, which adopted the technique in 2012, finds it very effective in easing soreness among players. About half the team is treated with dry needling once or twice a week. In the past, trainers would use their hands and foam rollers to massage away any discomfort. The process would often take up to 30 minutes per injury. Dry needling takes only two minutes. About 75% of players have experienced a benefit, and half say they’ve had “extremely good success.”
Experts say that needling is safe and inexpensive, but it appears to work best when combined with physical therapy. If you want to learn more about the benefits of dry needling and acupuncture, contact us here.