Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), is a dry needling technique increasingly used in the treatment of myofascial pain (sore muscles and connective tissue). The technique utilizes thin monofilament needles which are inserted into tight bands, “knots” or “trigger points” in the muscle, to help reduce pain and spasm. Current research supports the use of this technique for muscle pain.
Muscles which are in spasm are often caught in a cycle of nerve hypersensitivity and reactive muscle tension which can be very painful. IMS stimulates the muscle in a way which interrupts that cycle, releasing and resetting muscle tension, thereby relieving pain.
When the needle is inserted into a tight, painful muscle, it may elicit muscle contraction or a “twitch response”. The needle is left in place for several seconds and then removed. Multiple tight spots may be targeted in a single session.
Everyone’s experience with dry needling varies, some reporting mild to moderate pain, and others reporting no pain at all. This pain is typically short lived but may result in a residual aching feeling for a day or so. Most patients are impressed with the results and feel the relief is worth any temporary pain the treatment may cause. As the muscle tone improves, subsequent treatments become less painful.
Many people will notice a difference in the first one or two visits, but several may be needed to reach maximum benefit. Your physiotherapist will be able to monitor your progress and help you decide how to proceed.
Call one of our clinics and book an appointment with a physiotherapist certified in IMS. Our physiotherapists will evaluate the appropriateness of dry needling for your condition and answer your questions before beginning treatment. Remember, “the point” is to get you feeling better!