Shortly after being trained in dry needling, I was searching for willing subjects who would allow me to hone my skills. I had a long term patient I was seeing who I was treating for a thoracic compression fracture. We had a pretty good rapport and it came to light that he had had a rotator cuff and labral repair 2 years earlier. He voiced frustration that he never could attain full end range elevation compared to his uninvolved side. He heard me talk about dry needling and asked if I would take a look at his shoulder and see if he’d be a candidate.
The glenohumeral joint mobility was WNL, strength was 5/5 and he only lacked 20 degrees of shoulder flexion and abduction. Palpation was unimpressive with no symptom provocation. Yes, there were some taught bands noted in just about all the shoulder girdle musculature (deltoid, pectoralis major, biceps brachii, upper traps, infraspinatus and teres major/minor), but nothing beyond that. After needling the aforementioned musculature, he immediately gained 20 degrees in flexion and abduction and reported that his shoulder felt “more free.” I continued treating this patient for his thoracic compression fracture for another 2 months and he maintained those gains from just the one session of needling. Have you had dry needling success? Tell us about it below. And join me for Dry Needling Upper Quadrant course in Dallas, TX on September 19-20!
–Gary Kearns, PT, COMT, FAAOMPT NAIOMT Guest Faculty