Intramuscular Stimulation- “Dry Needling”

Intramuscular Stimulation or “Dry Needling” as it is more commonly known is an effective technique, for the treatment of chronic pain syndromes.


Pain that occurs and persists indefinitely in the absence of ongoing trauma is called “neuropathic” pain. Nerve conductivity can be compromised and this is nearly always associated with muscle shortening. This creates a “supersensitivity” in the involved area. Extensive medical tests will often show that there is “nothing wrong”.

If muscle shortening occurs in the spinal muscles, compression of the disc, spinal joints and consequently the spinal nerves can create pain and dysfunction in the area.

Because the affected nerves not only supply the muscles, but also the skin, blood vessels and organs, other changes can also occur over time. These can include the following:
• Swelling
• Hair loss
• Cold skin
• Goose bumps
• Sweat over the area
• Brittle nails
• Psoriasis

The Dry Needling treatment involves the insertion of  a fine acupuncture needle into the tight muscle bands. The muscle responds with a reflex grabbing sensation like a deep, achy muscle cramp and then it relaxes (lengthening). Usually an immediate change is noted by the patient. Range of motion improves and the muscles feel more relaxed. The conductivity of the nerve improves and initiates a healing response. The effects of IMS are cumulative. Eventually the condition is healed and pain is resolved.

Patients may experience a deep achy feeling following treatment for 24-48 hours. This is normal, and considered a good reaction. We encourage the use of cool packs to help with any post-treatment soreness. The number of treatments varies from patient to patient depending on the extent and duration of the condition.

Dry needling is not recommended if you are pregnant, have a local infection or are a hemophiliac. Please inform your therapist if you are taking anti-coagulants.

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