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What is Intramuscular Manual Therapy/Trigger Point Dry Needling?

Intramuscular manual therapy (IMT) involves multiple advances of an acupuncture needle into the muscle in the region of a myofascial trigger points which are defined as “hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band”.

The aim of IMT is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain. IMT is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin with very few side effects. This technique is unequalled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

The needle used is very thin and most people do not even feel it penetrate the skin. A healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of this needle. However if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject will feel a sensation like a muscle cramp –‘the twitch response’. The patient also may feel a reproduction of “their” pain which is a helpful diagnostic indicator for the practitioner attempting to diagnose the cause of the person’s symptoms. People soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length function to the involved muscle.

IMT can also be used for acute & chronic sport injuries, spinal conditions and pelvic pain. Such conditions may include:

  • Muscle tears, strains (Groin, Hamstring, calves, etc)
  • Shoulder Impingement, Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tendonopathies (Achilles, etc)
  • Tennis/golfers elbow
  • Sciatica, Piriformis syndrome
  • Cervico-genic headaches
  • Hip and Knee syndromes and pain
  • Spinal conditions
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (pelvic floor tension myalgia or overactivity)

If you would like to know more about Dry Needling and learn if it may benefit you, please contact me.

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