Once the connective tissue of a muscle or group of muscles is injured, healing stimulation is needed to correct the injury. Acupuncture needles are inserted at precise spots within these shortened muscles to loosen and lengthen the tissue.
In order for the body to move freely, the nerves and muscles must work in cooperation. When nerves become inflamed or are damaged, the muscles directed by those nerves become weakened and tender. This can be part of the condition referred to as neuropathic pain.
During IMS treatment, knots within the muscles are loosened by targeting specific points along the muscle bands surrounding the centre of pain and the affected segments.
IMS succeeds in treating soreness even in cases where there are limited discernible indications of tissue damage or inflammation, such as for tennis elbow, whiplash, headaches, frozen shoulder, and other chronic pain issues. Regular IMS can be effective in easing chronic pain and muscle dysfunction by locating and treating knots in the deepest muscles.
When an IMS needle is inserted into a normal muscle supplied by a healthy nerve, there is little to no discomfort. However, when a needle targets an area in the muscle that is sore and tight, there can be cramping and tenderness.
Patients often feel immediate improvement in the treated areas.
Sometimes a low level of discomfort is felt for a few days following the procedure, though this should be followed by less soreness, increased range of movement, and better overall functioning. Upon completion of a group of sessions, many patients report a full recovery of the condition and complete relief from pain in the treated areas.
Frequently Asked Questions About IMS & Dry Needling
What procedures should you follow after IMS treatment?
It is normal to experience some soreness for 24 to 48 hours after an IMS treatment. It normally feels like you have done a hard workout at the gym. It may be helpful to continue normal physical activity and drink lots of water to help reduce soreness.
Is IMS and dry needling the same?
Both IMS and dry needling are interchangeable terms used for a treatment technique that involves using an acupuncture needle to generate a localized twitch response in an overactive muscle to treat pain of a neuropathic origin.
What happens when dry needling hits a nerve?
When a nerve is accidently struck with an acupuncture needle, the patient may experience a sharp electrical sensation at the point of entry that extends down its distribution (ex. If you strike the sciatic nerve in the buttock it is possible to experience pain down the back of the leg that extends in to the foot). Typically this discomfort only lasts for a second.
How often should dry needling be done?
Treatment frequency is normally 1-2x per week depending on patient response.
What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?
Dry needling is a modern science based treatment technique that targets myofascial trigger points for the treatment of pain and movement disorders. Acupuncture is an element of traditional Chinese medicine that focuses on Chi flow, or energy, along meridians in the body. Dry needling is a dynamic technique that incorporates the use of a single needle to stimulate affected tissues, while acupuncture typically involves several needles that are left in place for up to 20 minutes.
How long do the benefits of dry needling last?
The purpose of dry needling intervention is to modify nervous system patterns that drive complex movements. Treatment tends to have a cumulative effect, becoming most impactful after 3-6 sessions. You may experience relief for weeks afterwards. In order to have permanent change, a specific graduated exercise program is required to normalize the movement patterns that caused the issue in the first place.
What are the risks for dry needling?
The most common risks associated with dry needling are temporarily increased pain or discomfort that lasts for 24-48 hours, bruising or bleeding at the treatment site, skin reactions, fainting and fatigue. The more serious, but very rare risks include infection and pneumothorax (collapsing of a lung due to needle puncture).