Dry Needling and Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

dry needling, IMS Physio Therapy

What is it?

Dry needling and IMS is a technique that treats muscle pain and helps restore movement in the body. Your certified physiotherapist inserts acupuncture needles into trigger points in your muscles to help relieve your acute or chronic pain.

Dry needling and IMS treats spinal segments and muscles that have become shortened—and painful—from abnormal nervous input. Inserting the needles into specific trigger points in your body stimulates your nervous system, which ultimately allows your muscle to return to its original length.

How does it work?

Dry needling and IMS works in three ways:

  • The needle causes your muscle’s tendon to contract, which is a signal for your muscles to relax.
  • The needle causes a small injury, causing more blood flow to the area and facilitating healing.
  • The needle resets the nerves in the area, allowing your muscles to relax.

What to expect at your assessment

On your first visit to our Edmonton or St.Albert clinic, your physiotherapist will ask about your initial injury, symptoms, pain patterns, and what aggravates or eases your symptoms.
Next is your physical exam. Your physiotherapist will assess your range and quality of movement, muscle strength and joint mobility, and will look for signs of neuropathy like skin changes, hair loss on your arms or legs and tenderness around your trigger points.

What does it feel like?

When your physiotherapist inserts the needle, you may feel a dull ache, or a muscle twitch or spasm. Most patients will notice an immediate change. You will likely feel stiff for a day or two after your treatment.

Dry needling and IMS could be for you if:

You experience persistent pain in an area long after previous tissue damage has healed
You experience more pain than you would expect, even from mild triggers
You experience pain for longer periods of time than you would expect

What do you do after your treatment?
Follow your physiotherapist’s instructions! But, generally speaking, you will need to:
Do mobility exercises
Drink lots of water
Treat stiffness or soreness with heat

Combined with other therapies, dry needling and IMS are shown to reduce pain and improve function. Call our Edmonton or St.Albert clinic today.