Many physiotherapists in BC are trained to use dry needling, also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), to address symptoms of chronic muscle pain and tension.
Dry needling/IMS involves the use of an acupuncture needle but this type of physiotherapy treatment is not the same as traditional Chinese acupuncture. With dry needling/IMS, a fine needle is used to treat shortened muscle bands and to treat nerve dysfunction which can bring about pain and muscle tension. Placement of the needles is based on a musculoskeletal exam and diagnosis. Treatment may be on both spinal and limb muscles.
The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy has a good resource for patients explaining what trigger points or muscles “knots” are, and the use of dry needling/IMS as one effective method to treat pain related to trigger points which may be found here. Another link to a research article supporting the use of dry needling to treat neck pain may be found here.
Functional Movement Systems has a short audio segment which explains in detail the differences between dry needling and traditional Chinese acupuncture. The link to the podcast is found here.
Gunn IMS (GIMS) uses dry needling to treat tight and sensitive spinal muscles which may be compressing and irritating a spinal nerve root. Needling is applied to corresponding painful muscles in the limbs and trunk which are controlled by the same nerve segment. A link to the UBC website explaining the GIMS approach is found here.
Call our clinic to schedule an appointment with our physiotherapists if you are struggling with chronic muscle pain and tension. Dry needling may be the answer to providing long-term relief from your pain symptoms.