as Scott and I were having a discussion in a different thread, thought I would just post some info here to broaden the discussion. Towards the end of the winter, I must have injured a muscle in my left shoulder from shoveling too much snow. It was the front of the shoulder (anterior) and I didn’t realize I had done anything to it until one day when I reached my left arm behind to put it into a coat sleeve and felt a lot of pain. I figured it would resolve itself over time, the pain lessened but never fully went away and I became aware of an impact on my range of movement. Again, slight, but since I work out regularly I noticed it. I do not take anti-inflammitories, I try to avoid anything stronger than aspirin. Luckily, it did not cause pain when golfing, so I kept going. August rolls around and I am thinking that 6 months is too long for this to continue...so I made an appointment with an acupuncturist that both if my parents had gone to in the past (near my office). He practices acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and dry needling. I had acupuncture in the past with someone else, but his primary therapy for this condition was to be dry needling. If you look online, you will see the technical explanation, but the basic concept is a very fine needle is inserted in to the muscle which is caught/knotted and it will cause that muscle to spasm and release. As we get injuries, as time goes on, surrounding muscles can tense up as a reaction to the injury (form of protection). A small injury in the shoulder joint can affect muscles in the trapezious.
So I had two teatments and was feeling better and the weather cooperated so I went out and played golf. And aggravated my shoulder. Got a treatment couple of days later and feel 10x better. As the therapist says, you will remember the pain of the treatment before you go to play golf too soon again, don’t play until I tell you it is healed! My treatments are an hour of needling and traditional acupuncture combined. I am drained at the end.
The needles are very fine like acupuncture needles but the treatment does cause bruising. Needle insertion makes micro tears. I have some ugly bruises that will take 2 weeks to go away since they are below the surface. I can say that the treatment after effects (discomfort) wore off quicker after treatment #3. The first round was brutal, I had trouble lifting my arm for a couple of hours. The gentleman I am going to went to college for biology, he has some advanced training in this area. Dry needling is not traditional Chinese medicine and some physical therapists do it as part of their treatment. I believe this can be pretty effective for reducing inflammation.