By Ursula Brooks – Physiotherapist
Dry Needling is used to treat Trigger Points or ‘Knots’ in muscle that produce pain and decrease a muscle’s ability to function optimally.
One of the many causes of these trigger points are poor postural habits that people adopt during sitting, standing and sleeping. Although when people are in these postures they feel ‘comfortable’ or relaxed, they are often putting their painful muscles into into shortened, hyperactive positions.
Some of these common, potentially aggravating, postures include:
1. Leg crossing and side leaning:
Both men and women are guilty of this one, and it is usual for an individual to have a preference to cross either the right or left leg.
When we do so, the upper leg tilts the pellvis upwards on that side, in doing so shortens the muscles of the lower back on that side. This can lead to trigger points producing pain in the lower back and gluteal muscles.
Other posture that can produce a similar effect are:
– Sitting with both legs tucked underneath to one side (women and young people tend to do this)
– Leaning on one arm of a chair so the body is side-flexed.
2. Arm Crossing:
Often used when people are relaxing and sustained for prolonged periods of time. Some people may even have a nap in this position! It can however, lead to shortening and trigger point manifestation in muscles at the front and top of the shoulders, such as Pect major and trapezius.
Another posture that can have a similar effect is sitting or sleeping with one or both hand between your knees/legs.
3. Arm bracing on knees:
This posture appears to be one commonly adopted by men. It puts strain on the muscles of the upper arms, particularly the triceps, the shoulder and neck.
So, if you think your pain may be coming from trigger points/knots in certain muscles, be aware of your postural habits – changes in these, combined with dry needling, stretching and strengthening of affected muscles, may be just what you need.