Running – Maintenance Treatment with Dry Needling
Runners, running girls running guys, all we tend to care about is how far we run and how fast we can do it. We run, run and run some more….oh and more again but we neglect the importance of strength training, conditioning and maintenance treatments. We then wonder why we get all of those little niggles, some more painful than others, some come and go, some linger but its fine because it definitely wont be serious and it will just disappear soon right?!
If we ignore those ‘little’ niggles, they can end up putting a runner out for months, is it worth it? No!!This might seem easy for me to say as I am in this profession as a Sports Therapist but I will also be honest and say that it is easy to say but also easy to forget to apply to my own training.
No runner ever wants to be told to stop running. If you are running with pain or an injury, please don’t run your problems away. Getting injured is no fun and being sidelined is frustrating physically and emotionally whether you’re an elite runner, a beginner or just enjoy running 5Ks on weekends.
Unfortunately, injuries are quite common with running, just like any other sports. And as much as we take proper precautions to avoid getting hurt, we are not immune to injuries. This is why prevention is key and getting to the bottom of your running injuries is crucial to help resolve the underlying problem, improve your running performance and avoid future injuries.
Most running injuries usually occur overtime and are known as “overuse injuries” commonly affecting the foot, ankle, lower leg, hip and knees as well as lower back. Most common overuse injuries include plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, heel spur, shin splints, stress fractures, tendon ruptures, muscle tightness and strains …etc. Other injuries can be more acute in nature such as ankle sprains/tears, muscle tear, and fractures. No matter how big or small an injury is, don’t ignore it and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll get resolved on its own because you could be creating more stress and damage to your body which will predispose you to injuries in the future.
If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort with running or have sustained an injury, you should come and visit us at Diversified Integrated Sports Clinic so that we can assess you, treat you and get you back to running correctly and pain free. Based on the findings, appropriate therapy is delivered to help reduce pain, address movement dysfunction and muscle imbalance and a rehabilitation program is designed to help you recover from an injury and restore your pre-injury level of performance.
Treatment usually involves a combination of therapies such as:
- Deep tissue massage
- Myofascial release
- Joint mobilisation and manipulation
- Taping and bracing
- Mobility exercises
- Balance and stability training
- Strength and conditioning
- Customised rehabilitation program
- Dry needling
Dry needling is a therapy used widely in treating sports injuries. It is one of the most common and effective treatment approaches to running injuries. It involves inserting a thin needle into muscles with tense fibres and knots. Once the needle is inserted, a twitch in the muscle occurs. This causes the fibres to relax, relieving tension and spasm in the muscle.
How does it work:
- The needle itself causes mechanical disruption of taut muscles fibres
- The twitch response can alter length and tension in muscle fibre
The twitch response can stimulate nerve fibres, which cause the release of vasoactive substances leading to vasodilation, increasing blood flow to muscles, facilitating tissue-healing
- It results in release of endogenous opioids (the body’s natural pain killers; most important: B-endorphins), which inhibit pain transmission.
Benefits of Dry Needling:
- Reducing pain, muscle spasms and joint stiffness.
- Releasing muscle tension.
- Breaking down muscle knots or trigger points.
- Restoring muscle length.
- Improving joint mobility and muscle flexibility.
- Improving blood circulation to the area of pain allowing tissue healing
Dry needling is used to treat muscle and tendon injuries, myofascial pains and joint sprains associated with running. It is also very effective in treating tendon injuries as it promotes collagen regeneration in the specific area through release of chemical mediators. You don’t have to have an injury in order to get dry needling done, there are needles for everyone! It simply helps replenish the muscles by increasing blood flow to the area supplying it with tissue-healing factor.
Even though dry needling has shown promising results in treating injured runners, it is also important to resolve the underlying cause of injury, why it happened and how to prevent it from recurring in the future.