Intramuscular Manual Therapy (AKA Trigger Point Needling)
Known as Trigger Point Dry Needling & Intramuscular Stimulation
This is a unique treatment that Kinetacare (previously known as Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, Brighton) offers patient with a variety of conditions. Just some of the benefits of IMT include decreasing pain on an acute and chronic level, promoting healing, increase ROM, increase function. Read on to learn more about what this treatment is and how it works.
WHAT IS IT?
The easiest way to think of this treatment is to relate it to a massage. The knots in your muscles that massage therapy often targets are similar areas of treatment for IMT (also known as Trigger Point Dry Needling-TDN). Often times these knots live at a deep level that fingers and hands just can't get to. Those knots are the goal of IMT. The needles used are very fine, thin, and flexible needles that are quickly tapped into the muscle and causes those knots to decrease, the muscle to loosen, and healing to begin which ultimately decreases pain and increases proper function.
Those knots in your muscles are known as Trigger Points. Trigger points are typically associated with muscle tightness and pain. To the right is a representation of trigger points in the hamstrings denoted by the X and the referral pattern indicated by the red area. It is very typical for the trigger point's main referral region to be some distance away from the actual trouble spot in the muscle.
Headaches are a great example of this. Treating the musculature in the neck and shoulders can quickly decrease the intensity and frequency of headaches.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
With physical therapy, Intramuscular Manual Therapy (IMT) is a treatment for muscular tightness and spasms which commonly follows injuries and often accompanies the degenerative processes of a chronically painful condition and dysfunction. Muscular tightness and spasms cause compression and irritation of the nerves exiting the spine. When the nerves are irritated, they cause a protective spasm of all the muscles to which they are connected. This may cause peripheral diagnoses such as carpel tunnel, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, decreased mobility and chronic pain. Small, fine needles are inserted in the muscles at the trigger points causing the pain referral. The muscles would then contract and release, improving flexibility of the muscle and decreasing symptoms.
IMT/IMS treats these trigger points to release them and allow the muscle to heal.
More and more physical therapists are incorporating trigger point dry needling into their practices. Incorporating the treatment technique with other manual and rehabilitative methods has been shown to be very effective in improving and hastening outcomes.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
There are several different types of needling therapies with different backgrounds and different theories behind them.
Intramuscular stimulation is a specific training, developed by C. Chan Gunn in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It is a treatment which uses thin needles to treat tight and restricted muscles which may be causing ongoing physical limitations.
Trigger point dry needling (TDN) is a similar treatment as IMS but utilizes a slightly different evaluation and treatment approach. Janet Travell, MD and David Simons, MD were instrumental in developing the evaluation and treatment of trigger points throughout the body.
Needling therapies are very common practice for physiotherapists in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and is slowly making it's was through the United States. Approximately, 14 states have officially accepted TDN as a practice for physical therapists and the number is continuing to grow as more and more people hear of this revolutionary treatment. For more information on TDN specifically please visit the website of our affiliated educational company which is training physical therapists in the technique www.GEMtinfo.com.
IMT is an effective treatment for many physical conditions, even those conditions many think only surgery can help. It is worth investigating further. If you are curious if IMT might help you, please call our clinic, you'll be surprised how much it can help!