When you injured your hamstring playing a sport, you may have made a quick appointment to see a physiotherapist. You may have thought that the physio would give you some exercises to do to fix the problem.
While your physio does this, they also recommend a broader treatment plan. As part of this plan, they mention that dry needling may be worth a go. What is dry needling, and how will it help repair your hamstring damage?
What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a bit like acupuncture. This treatment uses needles that are applied to certain parts of the body to fix functional problems. In physiotherapy, dry needling works on areas of muscle that have been affected by an injury, known as myofascial trigger points.
During treatment, your physio will place needles into your affected hamstring area to target these muscle areas. When the needle goes into an affected part of a muscle, it encourages the muscle to self-repair.
So, each needle will create a small area of blood around its insertion point. This blood helps muscles relax and repair by bringing oxygen and other healing substances into the area. This process can also help reduce swelling.
How Can Dry Needling Affect Hamstring Injuries?
Depending on the extent of the damage you have in your hamstring, you can spend a while trying to make things right again. While exercises and other physiotherapy solutions will help, you may not get a quick fix.
You may also be in quite a lot of pain at the moment. While some hamstring injuries only hurt if you are active, others may be sore enough to give you a limp, spasms and a weak feeling in your leg.
Dry needling can help your hamstring repair itself more quickly. The process may encourage problem areas to start to heal by themselves internally. You may find that your leg feels more comfortable after a session if swelling, bruising and blood flow are encouraged back to healthy levels. Relaxed muscles are also less painful and tight.
Your physio isn't likely to use dry needling on its own to repair your hamstring injury. This is usually recommended as one part of a treatment plan. However, the boost it gives may make the rest of your treatment more effective.
To find out more about how dry needling may help and how many sessions you may need, talk to your sports physio.