We provide functional dry needling (FDN), also referred to as intramuscular stimulation (IMS). It is a physical therapy modality used to treat myofascial and neuropathic pain. It is grounded in Western Medical Science, and relates particularly to radicular pain.
FDN/IMS involves insertion of a filament needle into an area of muscle that has become contracted and shortened (trigger points), and/or an area near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive. FDN/IMS directly treats the cause of the pain by relaxing the shortened muscle and allowing it to return to its normal state.
The goal of treatment is to achieve a local twitch response in order to release muscle tension, eliminate neuromuscular dysfunction and pain, and restore functional movement. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless. However, a shortened, supersensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation.
The resulting pain reduction and increased range of motion is achieved by:
- Stretching the receptor in the muscle by stimulation, therefore producing a relaxation or lengthening of the muscle
- Creating an electrical potential in the muscle to make the nerve function normally again (“reset”)
- Drawing blood flow to the area of dysfunction, therefore initiating the body’s natural healing process
The number of treatments required depends on several factors: general health, the duration and extent of the condition, how much scar tissue there is, and how quickly one’s body can heal. The rate of healing also depends on the condition of the nerves. If the pain is of recent origin, 1-2 treatments may be all that is necessary. The average person responds very well within 4 to 6 treatments.