What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?

Intramuscular stimulation (IMS), also known as dry needling, is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that can drastically reduce muscle pain and tightness associated with acute and chronic neuromuscular dysfunction. The technique involves placing a monofilament (acupuncture style) needle into the tight bands of a muscle commonly referred to as trigger points. There is no injectable solution and the needle which is used is very thin.  Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle. However, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened, or has active trigger points within it, a patient may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp — this is often referred to as a ‘twitch response’. Patients soon learn to recognize, and even welcome this sensation. The “twitch response” results in the deactivation of the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle. Typically positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, as well as the overall health of the patient.


Information courtesy of Kinetacore Physical Therapy Education

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