Five tips to make your home exercise programs more successful following dry needling
If you are using dry needling in your clinic, you may want to carry on some of the gains you have achieved with your needling into your patient’s home program. Here are 5 tips for designing a successful home exercise program, that will tie in with your needling
- Reduce muscle overactivity before performing strength or control training. When you have identified the “driver” or biomechanical reason the person has an area of overload, (for a simple example – poor hip control leading to anterior knee pain when running), palpate for any areas around the hip that have hypertonic fascicles, needle these, then recheck their function or muscle tests to identify which muscles you need to retrain now
- Use their new range of movement (ROM). If you have improved your patients ROM with your needling, which should happen often, teach the person how to use their new ROM in a functional task eg if you have improved their ankle DF ROM, strengthen them into this new range with a functional exercise like a one leg squat
- Followup their needling with self releases at home. If you needled around your patient’s hip deep external rotators eg Gemelli and Obturators, you can teach your patient how to perform self releases of these muscles at home manually, with a tennis ball or roller etc. This will help their treatment effect continue on between their treatment sessions
- Needle any muscles that have increased their activity from their home exercise/loading programme eg You have someone performing a loading program for their Achilles, you may want to needle their Soleus, Gastrocs and FDL so they don’t develop a lot of resting tone in these muscles, to decreases any potential tractional load on this tendon.
- Learn new neural patterns for old movements. Have your patient practise their functional tasks straight after needling. Eg if Triangle pose to the left in yoga is the patients “Meaningful Task”, after you have needled your patients L hip get them to perform this Triangle pose 10 times while you teach them how to monitor their hip muscles and cue “softness” in whichever muscles you needled. They can then carry on this practise and monitoring at home.
How do you design an ideal home exercise program? Let me know in the comments below