Trigger Point Dry Needling and Intramuscular Stimulation

Trigger Point Dry Needling and Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) both involve inserting thin needles into tight, irritable muscles.Trigger Point Dry Needling creates changes to muscles and connective tissue (fascia) near the needled areas. It also stimulates nerves to help releases the body’s own painkillers. A safe and effective treatment for acute and chronic pain and rehabilitation of an injury, dry needling is unrivaled as a means of finding and treating neuromuscular dysfunction, which causes pain and functional deficits.

What should I expect from treatment?

The number and location of needles used will vary based on your condition and treatment goals. The needle is inserted into the muscle up to several centimetres deep. Sometimes the needled muscle will twitch.Intramuscular stimulation and trigger point dry needling are rarely stand-alone treatments. Needling is used to address pain. When combined with other physiotherapy treatment methods, it also helps improve movement and function. Your physiotherapist will regularly check your progress to ensure needling is helping you. While positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions, response to treatment will vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner.

Are there any complications associated with IMS and Trigger Point Dry Needling?

Yes. Any technique that punctures skin has a risk of complications. It is important you know the risks before treatment. Your physiotherapist will review all of this in detail with you prior to initiating IMS/Dry Needling.

Common minor complications that usually resolve on their own include bleeding, bruising, pain during or after treatment. Less common complications include aggravation of symptoms, drowsiness, fatigue, feeling faint, nausea, headache, feeling shaky, emotional release, numbness and nerve irritation. A stuck or bent needle is an uncommon, but significant, complication that may require medical attention. Serious complications such as infection, the puncture of vital tissue or breakage of a needle in the body are very rare and usually require intervention from other health-care providers.

Can the risks of complications be reduced?

To reduce the impact of complications:

  • Eat before your appointment
  • Show up well rested to your appointment
  • Tell your physiotherapist if you have any concerns, including past experiences where you have fainted from receiving a needle
  • Let your physiotherapist know if you experience pain, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath or if you are feeling unwell
  • Follow your physiotherapist’s advice about positioning and movement during and after treatment
  • Inform your physiotherapist of any changes to medications such as blood thinners or pain relievers

Communication with your physiotherapist is key. Discuss your treatment and ensure your questions are answered. You can request your physiotherapist stop needling treatment at any time.

Do all physiotherapists perform Intramuscular Stimulation or Trigger Point Dry needling?

No. Physiotherapists who perform dry needling have completed training in addition to their university education. They have also received approval to perform needling from their regulatory body and must adhere to safe practice standards.

Trigger Point Dry Needling/Intramuscular Stimulation are available at our Huronia Road and Wellington St. locations.