Dry Needling – IMS


Dry Needling / IMS



What is Dry Needling – Intramuscular Stimuation?

Dry needling is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the skin and muscle at a myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots related to a neuromuscular disorder where the muscle becomes chronically hypertensed, causing poor joint mobility, tenderness, inflammation and pain. The treatment involves identifying the source of pain and advancing a small filament needle into the related muscles. Usually, a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or contains active trigger points, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp or a ‘twitch response’. This is a highly effective treatment to ‘re-start’ the nerve control of the muscle tissue and eliminate neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

What are some common injuries that can benefit from Dry Needling?

Dry needling can be used for a multitude of musculoskeletal problems. Such conditions include, but are not limited to neck, back and shoulder pain, tendinopathies (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow), headaches, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, and chronic pain. The treatment of muscle dysfunction has the greatest effect on reducing pain mechanisms in the nervous system.

What are the benefits of Dry Needling?

There are a number of physiologic effects of dry needling, including increased blood flow, decreased muscle tension, spasm and stiffness. There are also biomechanical changes that assist in reducing pain sensitivity and restoring function.

What is the difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?

The similarity between acupuncture and dry needling start and end with the tool used – the needle. Everything else including the assessment, application, and intended goal of treatment differ. Dry needling is strictly based on Western medicine principles and research.

Is Dry Needling painful?

Most patients describe a slight discomfort if a local twitch response is produced.  It may feel like a cramping sensation, a deep ache, or a referral of pain. It is important to note that this is a therapeutic response that occurs with the elicitation of a twitch response and is a good and desirable reaction.

What to expect after treatment?

You may feel some soreness over the area treated immediately after the session. This does not always occur, but if it does, this is considered normal. Soreness typically lasts 24-48 hours.  Always consult with your therapist if you are concerned about any side effects or symptoms.

What should I do after my treatment?

After treatment, staying hydrated, participating in normal activities, and performing gentle stretches is recommended. Movement is highly encouraged. Applying ice or heat over the area can also reduce soreness.

What are some other common interchangeable terms of Dry Needling?

  • Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
  • Functional Dry Needling (FDN)
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN)
  • Intramuscular Therapy (IMT)