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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Study Spotlight: Dry Needling vs. Sham on Performance of Vertical Jump


Dry needling is a very powerful soft tissue technique that goes directly to the spot of a myofascial trigger point.  While that can be helpful in a treatment and rehabilitation sense could it also be beneficial for performance?  We take a look at that question in this weeks Study Spotlight.


What They Did:
Researchers looked 35 healthy students (19m, 16f) who were divided into two groups, dry needling and sham.  The dry needling group received needling at four sites on bilateral gastroc muscles, two in the medial and lateral head.  The sham group had four areas pressed with the tube housing the needed but the need was never inserted into the skin. 

Two legged vertical testing was done by reaching up with a chalk mark at standing and then doing a countermovement jump and remarking with chalk on the jump and measuring the distance in between.  One jumped was performed prior to treatment and another after.

What They Found:
After analysis of the data it was found that the dry needling group significantly increased vertical jump height of 1.2 inches over the sham group.

What It All Means:
This study can give us ideas of how beneficial soft tissue work can be for your performance.  It doesn't always have to be something like dry needling in order to get the results of soft tissue work that could be beneficial to performance.  Give foam rolling and self myofascial release a try to help not only feel better but also get increased performance benefits.

Limitations:
Dry needling can be a hard treatment to recreate as a sham treatment due to the fact that no needle is inserted with the sham and therefore nothing remains in or on the skin like it would during an actual treatment.  There is also nothing to remove either in a sham treatment like there is with an actual treatment.

Testing vertical jump height can be tough and it can be hard to find the best testing set up to get maximum results.  There could be different results in the vertical jump test if the subject is given a goal in order to reach and this can result in increased performance.

Source: Brandy, W. Comparison of dry needling vs. sham on the performance of vertical jump. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy | Volume 12, Number 5 | October 2017
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