Cupping, Scraping, and Functional Dry Needling: How These Tools Can Help Decrease Your Pain And Improve Movement and Function.
All three of these tools are utilized in the clinic to help decrease pain, inflammation, and muscle tension in order to help our patients regain function and get back to the activities they love. Although these are great to use; they are not meant to be the end all be all. They are used in conjunction with hands on techniques to get our patients back to sport. Below we will discuss each one in detail and how they can be added to a plan of care.
Many of our patients have received cupping before from different practitioners. Each practitioner will utilize this technique differently. We at KinetikChain Denver use this to directly facilitate recovery one of the benefits is to decrease swelling and muscle tension. Cupping involved having cups placed on the skin with added suction. This is known to help with blood circulation, pain, inflammation, and relaxation. The ultimate goal is to loosen the muscles so we can graduate to a more active therapy session so they can start their return to activity. Some places add heat or use different cups or styles. While we believe these are a good tool to help aid in the recovery process, they alone will NOT heal an injury completely. Depending on the injury, many patients will still require other forms of manual (hands on) therapy and exercise. Cupping does not typically cause pain, however, some of our patients refer to the feeling as “interesting”.
This involves using a tool to scrape the skin to help improve circulation. This is an ancient Chinese technique that has been used for decades. Old practices involved deep scraping to disrupt the healing process in order to start it over again with patients that have been experiencing pain for long periods of time (chronic patients). Now studies are proving that you do not have to cause damage to the skin or pain to patients in order to help the healing process. We use scraping in the clinic to decrease muscle tension and relax the muscles. You can use short or long strokes with different types of scraping tools to increase blood flow. We use this method and any region of the body where we notice knots or tightness.
Functional Dry Needling:
This gets a lot of discussion in the clinic since a lot of our patients have been to acupuncture. They assume that the two are related. Some acupuncturists have certifications to dry needle but regular acupuncture and dry needling follow different guidelines. Dry needling uses the same needles as acupuncture but is used to penetrate the skin down to the muscle to elicit a “twitch response”. This allows the muscle to return to a normal state and release the trigger point. It is important to know the musculoskeletal system inside and out in order to determine the placement of the needle. Dry needling is not necessarily painful, however, the muscle can remain minimally (1/10) sore or achy for up to 24 hours. It is important to train the muscle appropriately after it is released to gain strength and control of the muscle.
While all three of these are used in our clinic, it is important to note that they individually cannot alone treat an injury. It is important to seek a practitioner who can provide you with a thorough examination and evaluation to determine the appropriate diagnosis. Then a plan of care is set between the PT and patient to ensure they reach their goals.
Hopefully this information has helped.
Without knowing precisely what is wrong and causing your pain it can be very difficult if not impossible to fix this by yourself, but once the cause is identified it is as simple as putting in the work to get rid of the pain so you can get back to being active again and doing what you need and love to do.