Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), Dry Needling treatment at Sheddon physio clinics in Oakville and Burlington
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) also known as Dry Needling is a therapeutic technique gaining widespread recognition in the world of physiotherapy and pain management, therapy practiced at the Sheddon physio clinics in Oakville and Burlington. Dry needling involves the use of fine, sterile needles to target myofascial trigger points, which are often the culprits behind chronic pain, muscle tightness, and restricted range of motion. While sharing some similarities with acupuncture, dry needling is different in its focus and methodology. We will explore the principles and benefits of this innovative technique, shedding light on how it can provide relief for individuals dealing with a wide range of musculoskeletal issues. Understanding the essentials of dry needling can offer valuable insights into the possibilities of pain management and improved physical well-being.
What is Dry Needling?
While the name of the procedure may sound intimidating, dry needling is safe, minimally discomforting and often an effective technique for patients with certain musculoskeletal presentations. A thin needle penetrates the skin and treats underlying muscular trigger points for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. Dry needling is focused on using strong stimulation on the muscles to get them to release. Dry needling focuses on treating muscle tissue, and its goal is to reduce pain, inactivate trigger points and restore function.
It is often used as part of a broader physical therapy approach incorporating other traditional physical therapy interventions into treatment such as stretching and strengthening. Dry needling uses a single needle at a time as opposed to acupuncture. The needle is inserted and manipulated by the therapist to stimulate the muscle directly. You will feel an ache as the trigger points will be sensitive. Treatment time will vary depending on the muscle being worked on and the number of trigger points, but in most cases treatment is 5 to 10 min. Expect for the area to be sore for up to 48 hours post treatment, it will feel like the muscle went through an intense workout.
How is Dry Needling Different From Acupuncture?
Acupuncture and dry needling are both needle-based therapies, but they differ significantly in their underlying principles and therapeutic goals. Acupuncture typically involves the insertion of needles at specific acupuncture points, often distant from the site of pain or discomfort. In contrast, dry needling is a technique primarily focused on targeting myofascial trigger points and muscle tension to alleviate pain and muscle dysfunction. Dry needling involves inserting needles directly into areas of muscular tightness, often near the source of pain. While both approaches use needles, they are distinct in their philosophies and intended outcomes.
Who Can Benefit From Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a versatile therapeutic technique that can be beneficial for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and issues. Some of the common conditions that can benefit from dry needling include:
Myofascial Pain Syndrome: This is a condition characterized by trigger points in muscles that cause localized pain and refer pain to other areas. Dry needling can help release these trigger points, alleviating pain and muscle tension.
Muscle Spasms: Dry needling can relax overactive muscles and reduce muscle spasms, leading to improved muscle function and reduced pain.
Neck and Back Pain: Chronic neck and back pain often involves trigger points and muscle tension. Dry needling can target these areas to provide relief.
Sports Injuries: Athletes with conditions like muscle strains, ligament sprains, or overuse injuries may benefit from dry needling to promote healing and reduce pain.
Sciatica: In cases of sciatic nerve irritation due to muscle tightness, dry needling can help release the affected muscles and reduce pressure on the nerve.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of dry needling can vary from person to person, and it is typically used in conjunction with other physiotherapy and rehabilitation techniques. Before seeking dry needling, it’s essential to consult with a physiotherapist to determine whether it is a suitable treatment for your specific condition.
Is There Research to Support Dry Needling?
There is a growing body of research to support the effectiveness of dry needling for various musculoskeletal conditions. Many studies and clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the benefits of this technique. Some key findings from research on dry needling include:
Pain Relief: Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of dry needling in reducing pain, particularly in conditions like myofascial pain syndrome, tension headaches, and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Improved Range of Motion: Dry needling has been shown to enhance joint mobility and increase range of motion in individuals with muscle tightness.
Muscle Function: Research suggests that dry needling can improve muscle function, reduce muscle spasms, and enhance muscle activation patterns, making it valuable for athletes and individuals recovering from injuries.
Trigger Point Inactivation: Dry needling effectively deactivates myofascial trigger points, which are often associated with chronic pain and muscle tension.
Combination with Other Therapies: Many studies indicate that combining dry needling with other physiotherapy or rehabilitation techniques can lead to improved outcomes.
Dry needling is a valuable therapeutic approach that has shown promise in addressing a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, from myofascial pain to sports injuries and chronic pain syndromes. By targeting trigger points and muscle tension, it offers the potential for pain relief, improved muscle function, and enhanced overall well-being.
If you or someone you know is interested in trying dry needling for your current injury or health issue, contact one of our great physio clinics either in Oakville or Burlington to book your appointment today. Contact our Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic in Oakville at 905-849-4576 or our Burlington clinic at 905-332-1070.