Dry Needling for shoulder tightness can provide a lot of benefits when you’re looking to address nagging shoulder tightness. Dry needling has become a popular treatment for chiropractors, physical therapists, and even medical doctors who’re looking to provide relief from shoulder discomfort. Since it’s relatively new to the physical medicine scene, I’ll look to answer some of your questions about dry needling for shoulder tightness.
Why is my shoulder tight in the first place?
That’s a great question, and there are a lot of answers…
Tight muscles in your shoulder just one reaction in a predictable chain of events. Most nagging shoulder tightness results for a few common reasons:
- Negative postural changes – Your posture has deteriorated and it’s causing certain muscles to suffer and tighten up as a result.
- Loss of flexibility – You never stretch or don’t stretch enough to keep your muscles loose and supple.
- Reduced joint motion – Your shoulder joints or spinal joints have poor movement and are causing reactive shoulder tightness.
- Poor muscular balance – Some of your muscles are weak and underactive, letting other become tight and dominate the balance.
- Poor training to mobility ratio – You train a lot, but don’t work on your mobility to sufficiently match your training volume.
The good news is that these are all reasons that can be fixed and changed. Muscle tightness is often a reactive change. In other words, it’s your body speaking to you and telling you that something is a little off. If you’re pretty in-tune with your body you’ll notice this. If your not, you probably feel like there’s no good reason for your tight shoulder(s).
There are other reasons that may be causing the muscles in your shoulder to be tight that aren’t as easy to fix. Some of these reasons include the following:
- Acute Injury – You may have seriously injured your shoulder causing the muscles around the joint to tighten up in order to protect the joint.
- Neurological Disease – Some neurological diseases cause muscle spasms that are predictable. Don’t worry these are rare.
- Overtraining – You might be overtraining and your muscles are in a constant state of rebuilding themselves.
These are rarer reasons for shoulder tightness, but ones I see from time to time. If you’re feeling like you have a shoulder injury, check out this content –> Dry Needling for Shoulder Injuries
How does dry needling reduce shoulder tightness?
Dry needling is excellent at reducing shoulder tightness. It achieves this effect by reducing what is called a myofascial trigger point. Myofascial trigger points, in short, are taut bands of muscle fibers that are cause poor muscle function, muscle tightness, and pain.
When using dry needling for shoulder tightness, the needle is inserted directly into the trigger point. This causes a muscle twitch reaction which is a unique characteristic of the trigger point. After reducing the trigger point, the fibers are able to lengthen and perfuse with oxygen.
This treatment inhibits muscle tightness and tension in the shoulder and reduces feelings of shoulder tightness. It sounds like a complicated process, but it really isn’t. It’s similar to when you’ve got a “knot” and you put pressure on it to relieve tension and discomfort.
Do you have knee pain and are wondering about dry needling for knee pain? Check out my content on this subject –> Dry Needling for Knee Pain Explained
What are other treatments to reduce shoulder tightness?
Although dry needling is effective for shoulder tightness, it’s best when used in combination with a treatment strategy. At AccessHealth we look at each case of shoulder tightness as unique and create an effective strategy to address it. Other treatments for shoulder tightness include:
- Chiropractic Manipulation – This helps increase joint range of motion that may be contributing to your shoulder tightness.
- Home Exercise Program – Every patient gets a home exercise program to reduce shoulder tightness, improve flexibility, and create a balance between the muscles of the shoulder.
- Graston Technique – You may have fascial adhesions that contribute to your shoulder tightness, and Graston Technique is a soft tissue technique that addresses this.
- Ultrasound Therapy – Ultrasound therapy is a good post-needling treatment and can relieve discomfort associated with shoulder tightness.
You may be thinking this sounds pretty similar to physical therapy, and it is. A good chiropractor and a good physical therapist are almost interchangeable, they just have subtle differences in their treatment strategies. Chiropractors will do more manipulation and dry needling, and physical therapists typically do more in-office exercises.
If you’re not exactly sure what a chiropractor does or how they can help you, see this great article from Men’s Health about chiropractors –> 5 Times You Should See a Chiropractor (Not Just for Back Pain)
Dr. Jason Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. He treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating athletes, especially those in the CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA community.
If you’re interested in whether he or another AccessHealth provider can help you, navigate to our contact page or follow this link to request an appointment.