Dry Needling For Golf Performance
What is dry needling and how can it help me with my golf performance? You’re probably well aware that the golf swing is a complicated movement and is very repetitive. You’re also probably aware that it’s not uncommon for golfers to experience an injury or have a nagging injury due to the repetitive nature of the sport. In conjunction with a comprehensive plan, dry needling is a great tool that can help you get over a new or even a nagging injury.
What Exactly Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique that a trained healthcare practitioner, usually a physical therapist or chiropractor, can perform to treat pain and movement impairments. Other names for dry needling include trigger point dry needling and intramuscular manual therapy.
The actual procedure of dry needling uses a very fine filament needle that is inserted through the skin into muscular trigger points. There are many theories on how dry needling works, however research demonstrates it reduces pain, inflammation, and muscular tension by stimulating the nervous system (1).
What Is A Trigger Point?
A trigger point can be easily described as a muscle knot. I’m sure you’ve felt these on yourself as they tend to be prominent in the upper back and shoulders. The scientific definition of a trigger point is a local contraction of muscle that can limit mobility, cause pain, and create movement dysfunction.
If you felt around yourself right now, you probably have trigger points in various places. Are they all bad and need to be rid of? No, of course not! I’m sure most of the trigger points you can find are painless and are not causing any dysfunction whatsoever. When it comes to dry needling treatment, we’re looking for the trigger points that are causing your symptoms and/or might be contributing to any movement dysfunction based on a comprehensive screen.
I like to think of trigger points as an area of muscle that your nervous system is angry with. What needs to happen is that we need to change the input of that area through the nervous system. For instance, massage, foam rolling, and dry needling can be performed to change the nervous system input. Either option can be very beneficial, but in my experience there tends to be faster and longer lasting results with dry needling.
Is Dry Needling The Same As Acupuncture?
The only similarity between dry needling and acupuncture is that the same types of needles are used. Acupuncture is based on traditional Eastern medicine that focuses on restoring qi. Whereas, dry needling is based on Western medicine and is rooted in pain patterns, orthopedic tests, and modern science/research.
How Can Dry Needling Help My Golf Game?
Most importantly, dry needling is part of a comprehensive plan that can help you get and stay out of pain. Which, means you can stay out on the course for longer! When it comes to the golf swing, it’s not uncommon for one area to hurt, but the actual problem be somewhere else. This is very common with back pain in the golf swing. Very often a person may lack enough thoracic and/or hip mobility. This often causes the golfer to “steal” mobility from the low back.
For example, let’s say you have low back pain. The root cause of your symptoms will be determined with a full evaluation. The evaluation reveals that you have limited mobility in your hips but also tightness in your low back. First, the low back tightness can first be addressed with dry needling. Next, to restore mobility to your hips, joint mobilizations and other techniques may be utilized. Finally, some form of resisted or loaded movement will be performed to help maintain the new mobility and movement pattern.
It is very common clients to have improvements in pain and movement after the first session with dry needling. Therefore, this allows them to feel better but to also work through other techniques that can help them get back on the course faster.
Ready To Give It A Try?
In conclusion, dry needling is not the golden ticket for pain, but it can be a great tool that allows you to feel better faster. Above all, it is part of a full and comprehensive plan to help you play your best.
Ultimately, it is my overall goal to help you play your best but to also feel your best on & off the golf course. Please reach out to me if you want to learn more about dry needling. Also, you can reach out to me if you want to learn how you can address symptoms that are stopping your from living your best life.
If you would like to get started on your own golf performance plan, you can schedule a no-obligation call or in-person appointment with me for no charge at all to get started. I want to help you move better, get stronger, and swing faster, so you can be your best on and off the golf course!
Also, I made 9 FREE workouts with your golf performance in mind. Here is the link to grab those 9 free workouts.
Feel Great. Golf Great.
1. Kalichman L, Vulfsons S. Dry needling in the management musculoskeletal pain. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010;23(5):640–646.