Relief with Dry Needling or IMS Treatment

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Dry Needling (IMS)Services

Dry Needling (IMS)

Dry Needling (IMS) at Actilife Physiotherapy and Rehab Clinic, Coquitlam.

Dry needling, also known as Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), is a specialized technique used by physiotherapists to treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. This therapeutic approach involves the insertion of thin needles into trigger points within muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues to stimulate healing, relieve pain, and restore normal function.

Principles of Dry Needling/IMS:

Dry needling/IMS is based on the principles of neurophysiology and anatomy. It targets trigger points, which are hyperirritable spots within tight bands of muscle tissue that are associated with pain, stiffness, and restricted movement. By inserting needles into these trigger points, physiotherapists aim to elicit a local twitch response, which is a brief involuntary contraction of the muscle fibers. This response helps release muscle tension, improve blood flow, and stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

Benefits of Dry Needling/IMS:

Dry needling/IMS offers a wide range of benefits for individuals dealing with musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, including:

  1. Pain Relief: Dry needling/IMS can help alleviate acute and chronic pain by releasing muscle tension, reducing inflammation, and interrupting pain signals sent to the brain.
  2. Improved Muscle Function: By releasing trigger points and restoring normal muscle function, dry needling/IMS can improve muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination.
  3. Enhanced Range of Motion: Dry needling/IMS can help restore normal joint mobility and flexibility, allowing for improved range of motion and reduced stiffness.
  4. Faster Recovery: Dry needling/IMS can accelerate the healing process by promoting circulation, reducing swelling, and stimulating tissue repair.
  5. Complementary Treatment: Dry needling/IMS can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other therapies such as tailored exercise therapy, manual therapy, and modalities to enhance overall outcomes.

Difference Between Dry Needling/IMS and Acupuncture:

While both dry needling/IMS and acupuncture involve the use of needles, they differ in terms of their underlying principles, techniques, and treatment goals.

  1. Principles: Dry needling/IMS is based on Western medical principles and targets specific trigger points within muscles and soft tissues to relieve pain and restore function. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and aims to balance the flow of energy (Qi) along meridians or energy channels in the body to promote health and well-being.
  2. Techniques: In dry needling/IMS, needles are inserted directly into trigger points and may be manipulated to elicit a local twitch response. In acupuncture, needles are inserted at specific acupuncture points along meridians and may be stimulated through gentle manipulation or electrical stimulation.
  3. Treatment Goals: The primary goal of dry needling/IMS is to relieve musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction by releasing trigger points and restoring normal muscle function. Acupuncture aims to address a wide range of health conditions by rebalancing the flow of energy (Qi) throughout the body and promoting overall wellness.

Conditions Treated with Dry Needling/IMS:

Dry needling/IMS can be effective in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including:

  1. Muscle Strains and Sprains: Dry needling/IMS can help reduce muscle tension, alleviate pain, and promote healing in strained or sprained muscles.
  2. Tendonitis and Tendinopathy: Dry needling/IMS can target trigger points within tendons to relieve pain, improve mobility, and support tendon healing.
  3. Joint Dysfunction: Dry needling/IMS can address muscle imbalances and trigger points contributing to joint dysfunction, such as in the case of osteoarthritis or joint instability.
  4. Neck and Back Pain: Dry needling/IMS can target trigger points in the neck and back muscles to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, and improve posture.
  5. Sports Injuries: Dry needling/IMS can be used as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program to address muscle imbalances, reduce pain, and optimize performance in athletes recovering from sports injuries.

What to Expect During a Dry Needling/IMS Session:

During a dry needling/IMS session, your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to identify areas of muscle tightness, trigger points, and areas of dysfunction. They will then insert thin, sterile needles directly into the identified trigger points, using a precise and controlled technique. You may feel a brief sensation of pressure or discomfort as the needle is inserted, followed by a localized twitch response or a dull ache, which indicates that the trigger point has been successfully stimulated.

The number of needles used and the duration of the session will vary depending on your individual needs and the extent of your condition. Your physiotherapist may combine dry needling/IMS with other therapeutic techniques such as tailored exercise therapy, manual therapy, and modalities to optimize your treatment outcomes.

After the session, you may experience some soreness or mild bruising at the needle insertion sites, which is normal and typically resolves within a few days. It’s important to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activity, and follow any post-treatment instructions provided by your physiotherapist to support your recovery.

Dry needling/IMS is a highly effective treatment approach for relieving musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. By targeting trigger points within muscles and soft tissues, dry needling/IMS can alleviate pain, improve muscle function, and enhance overall mobility and function.