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Dry Needling IMS

Dry Needling (IMS) Therapy

What is Dry Needling (IMS)?

Functional Dry Needling is an effective way to loosen up tight bands of muscle (also known as a trigger point) and increase the range of motion in joints with the use of a thin needle. Dry Needling can also be referred to as Intramuscular stimulation (IMS). 

This method of pain relief was first developed locally in Vancouver B.C. by Dr Gunn. He observed that many patients suffered from long-term pain even with no evidence of severe injuries such as broken bones and damaged tendons. 

Justin Shing Dry Needling

Certified in Dry Needling (FDN, IMS)

Physiotherapists who practice dry needling receive additional training. Justin is fully certified and can safely needle muscles in the body. He has taken upper level courses that allow him to use IMS to treat more advanced areas in the body.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

In short, dry needling acts as a “reset” to muscles. Once an active trigger point is identified, a trained physiotherapist can insert a needle into the muscle belly. This can sometimes cause a twitch when the needle is removed indicating that the muscle has loosened.

How long does the needle stay in?

Approximately a second. Oftentimes, it takes more time to clean and prepare the skin than it will for the actual treatment with dry needling. In some cases, if the therapist and patient is comfortable, the needle could be left in for a longer period of time.


Does Dry Needling hurt? 

People describe being needled like feeling a mosquito bite. Sometimes people say the involuntary twitch when the needle is inserted is uncomfortable.  When the entire process is done, it is normal for patients to experience soreness. The soreness is comparable to muscle pain after exercising. Typically, the soreness lasts for about an hour but can last up to a day. A trained physiotherapist will try to minimize the amount of soreness felt. 


3 reasons why Dry Needling (IMS) in Physiotherapy works

1. When performed by a skilled physiotherapist, Dry Needling is a highly effective therapy. Needles can reach muscles that are hidden behind other big muscles. Within the back, the spine has several layers of muscles, it is oftentimes difficult to get a release through the deeper layers with other techniques.

2. Dry needling is quick! Sometimes during a session, many parts of the body need to be addressed. Dry needling offers a fast way to treat lots of different areas. Often this method can shorten treatments that normally take 10-15 min (like manual manipulation) to seconds.

For example, drying needling is good at releasing tight glute muscles where the fibers can be as thick as 15 centimetres.

3. Patients frequently describe needling into these areas as a relief as manual therapy, massage, and other treatment just can’t reach the right places.

How often should I get Dry Needling (IMS)?

dry needling

The answer to this ultimately depends on your goal. Speak to your physiotherapist about a plan going forward with treatment. If your goal is the maintenance of certain muscles and joints, more treatment may be advised. Alternatively, if dry needling is used to rehab a strained muscle or ligament, the frequency may lessen as your symptoms improve.

How long does it take to work?

Dry needling should produce instant results. Although instant, Justin always cautions patients that the effect is temporary. To increase the length of time of the effect, he encourages patients to perform the exercise and/or stretches afterward in your home program. The exercises prescribed can help the body remember and maintain the range for a longer period of time.

What are the most common injuries to treat with Dry Needling?

Dry needling can be used for many types of pain and injuries. Common types of pain and injuries  include:

  • Headaches

  • Back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Sciatica

  • Shoulder – Rotator Cuff injuries

  • Tendiopathies

  • Reduced range of motion

  • Muscles and joint stiffness

Is IMS and Dry Needling the same?

Yes. These terms are used interchangeably. 

Is Dry Needling and Acupuncture the same?

Although Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) and Acupuncture use the same tools, the theory and reason for use is different. Both therapies involve inserting a one-time use, thin needle into the body. 

In acupuncture, the theory is to help lessen the pain by targeting different acupuncture points throughout the body. Physiotherapists could leave the needle in the body for a time longer than 30 minutes to achieve the effect.

In IMS, the same needles are used to release muscle tension, treat pain at its source. This is the form of dry needling Justin practices. Needles can be used by inserting and removing immediately, or can also leave them at a point for a longer period of time. Points are chosen by finding the muscle that is tight, some people call these trigger points, and loosening them.

Angie Nguyen Scopo Photography

Low pain tolerance - dislikes needles

 Justin recommended using Dry Needling to help me with my injury. I was very skeptical at first. Finally, when my progress plateaued I gave it a try.

Justin has these distraction tricks that help to make the experience less intimidating.

Dry needling really has helped me recover from a lot of tight muscle injuries. To this day, I am not a fan, however, I must admit it works and Justin makes the experience as painless as possible.

Justin Shing Dry Needling

High pain tolerance  <3 needles 

Dry needling is an effective way of controlling the pain I get from all my sports.I find it more beneficial than other types of therapies.
Justin Shing does an assessment to identify what muscle may be causing my problem and we use needles to release it.

During my physiotherapy sessions, Justin uses a combination of IMS to loosen my muscles in addition to other manipulation techniques. Altogether, my symptoms feel better after each treatment.

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