You call it a shoulder blade, but medicine calls it a scapula (a Latin word). The largest bone in the structures of your shoulder, 17 different muscles are attached to it.
Multiply by 2! That’s a lot of muscles depending on healthy shoulder blades.
When the scapula is compromised by dysfunction, this can provoke scapular winging. Normally the shoulder blades lie flat. But when they stick out noticeably, winging is the problem.
There are different levels of this condition, with some patients reporting no pain or loss of function. More serious cases can cause pain and loss of control of the shoulder, itself.
The reasons for this happening are multiple, from muscle imbalance to dysfunction in the nerves and muscles. Questionable posture can also be the cause of scapular winging.
This post will discuss dry needling for scapular winging, what it is and how it works.
Also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), or myofascial trigger point dry needling, this therapy is similar in orientation to acupuncture, employing fine needles to target key areas. In this case, trigger points in the muscles are targeted.
More properly referred to as myofascial acupuncture, dry needling is applied directly to the trigger point (a cluster of contracted muscles) responsible for the pain being experienced. When applied correctly, the insertion of the needle will cause a local twitch response.
This is the spinal cord signaling that the spot has been hit.
While some patients find the sensation of the twitch response strange, this is the body’s signal that the trigger point has been found and addressed. It also indicates that the release of endogenous opioids has occurred, which have an analgesic effect.
Can it work for scapular winging?
While some sectors of the medical community are at odds with this practice (as they once were with acupuncture), we’ve seen positive outcomes with dry needling for scapular winging. Addressing trigger points governing the positioning of the scapula has been seen to improve mobility and readily restore the scapula to the neutral, healthy position.
At Back & Body Medical, we combine dry needling with practices like manipulation and palpation and prescribed stretching and exercise. Our team here believes that the answer isn’t always a silver bullet, but a combined approach which draws on a complex of treatments to arrive at resolution.
We’ve had excellent results with dry needling for scapular winging, but also with many other conditions. When medical knowledge is combined, it gains power and when the individual patient is at the center of care, that power is unstoppable.
Back & Body Medical has now brought its award-winning model to New Jersey. With patient-centered, multi-disciplinarian care close to home, patients in the Garden State can discover what Manhattanites already know – that an integrated approach works.
Practicing under the disciplines of chiropractic, physical therapy, sports medicine and acupuncture, we’re a team of pain relief clinicians who use our collective knowledge to offer our patients tailored care under one roof.
If you’re struggling with scapular winging, contact us. We’ll find your ideal solution.