The huge variety of movement patterns used in CrossFit means that CrossFit athletes must have optimal mobility to perform at their best and minimize risk of injury. Without full mobility in a joint, the body must find ways to compensate that often put the athlete into poor positions. An example of this would be limited shoulder mobility leading to excessive arching of the low back during a shoulder to overhead workout.
Most serious CrossFit athletes realize the need for mobility and devote time to improving their flexibility through stretching, self-joint mobilization, and soft tissue work. For some, this may not be enough. In this case, dry needling can be a great tool.
Dry Needling is a therapeutic technique utilizing small, solid filament needles inserted into the body. It is a highly effective tool for decreasing muscle contraction, improving mobility, reducing chemical irritation, and decreasing pain. Dry Needling can be useful for both individuals in pain and those looking for improved mobility for athletics.
Dry needling is not the same as traditional acupuncture. While both dry needling and acupuncture use the same solid filament needles, traditional acupuncture is based on Traditional Oriental Medicine and aims to focus on the flow of energy within the body. Dry needling is based on Western medical principles and research. Dry needling focuses on the neuromuscularskeletal system, affecting muscle flexibility, joint mobility, and pain.
My shoulders are a great example of the potential benefits of dry needling for the CrossFit athlete. I used to get frequent low back pain during overhead lifting due to shoulder mobility restrictions leading to an overextended back to compensate. In the picture of the left you can see my arched back and limited shoulder motion (the right side had already been needled). Months of stretching did not help this problem. After one quick session of needling, you can see greatly improved shoulder motion on the right. Two months later, mobility has remained full and I no longer have back pain after WODs with a high volume of overhead movements.
For more information see the Dry Needling page and contact me.