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Dry Needling

Dry Needling in Downtown Edmonton

Dry needling or IMS (Intramuscular Stimulation)

Dry Needling is a technique where a sterile, single-use needle is inserted into muscles to assist with the reduction of pain and improving function through the release of myofascial trigger points (knots in the muscle).  

  • This technique targets hypersensitive muscles and trigger points (knots) and is used for treating chronic muscle pain.
  • Dry needling helps increase the length of a muscle and supports dysfunctional muscle functioning normally again.

What is the Difference Between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is different from acupuncture, but there are similarities. The main difference is the theory behind the methods. Dry Needling focuses on pain reduction and restoration of function through releasing myofascial trigger points. By comparison, acupuncture restores the flow of energy (Qi) through critical points in the body (meridians) to restore balance.

What is a Trigger Point?

A myofascial trigger point, or a knot in the muscle, is a group of muscle fibres that shortened when activated but have not lengthened back into a relaxed state after being used. A myofascial trigger point is the development of a sensitive nodule in the muscle. Muscle fibres become very tight so that they compress capillaries and the nerves nearby. The muscle is then unable to move normally, nor obtain fresh blood supply. Then the rest of the muscle tightens to compensate and cascades as a painful stimulus.

What Causes Myofascial Trigger Points?

A myofascial trigger is the body’s protective response to:

  • injury - the muscle tightens to try to reduce the severity of an injury;
  • unexpected movements – g. descending steps that are lower than you expected;
  • quick movements – g. looking over your shoulder while you drive;
  • changes in regular activities or muscle loading – g. increased training intensity
  • sustained posture –g. sitting for study or work;
  • generalized stress.

How Does it Work?

Dry Needling decreases local pain in muscles and improves function through restoring the muscle's ability to shorten and lengthen normally by releasing the myofascial trigger points.

When the needle is inserted into the center of a trigger point, the blood pools near the needle, which triggers the contracted muscle fibers to relax because of the fresh oxygen and nutrient supply. This leads to increase local blood flow and increased nervous system activity.

When to Use Dry Needling?

  • to release muscle knots (myofascial trigger points)
  • to manage pain
  • to restore joint movement

Where Does Dry Needling Fit in a Rehab Program?

Physiotherapists frequently use dry needling as part of rehabilitation plans. Dry Needling is used in combination with other procedures including massage, manual therapy, and exercise prescription.

Can You Exercise After Dry Needling?

Avoid high impact or strenuous activities after treatments, so your body has time to recover, and maximize the benefits of the dry needling.

To learn more about your physiotherapy treatment options in Downtown Edmonton, call us at (780) 761-3777


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