Trigger Point Dry Needling and Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) both involve inserting thin needles into tight, irritable muscles. Trigger Point Dry Needling creates changes to muscles and connective tissue (fascia) near the needled areas.
The number and location of needles used will vary based on your condition and treatment goals. The needle is inserted into the muscle up to several centimetres deep. Sometimes the needled muscle will twitch. Intramuscular stimulation and trigger point dry needling are rarely stand-alone treatments. Needling is used to address pain when combined with other physiotherapy treatment methods, it also helps improve movement and function. Your physiotherapist will regularly check your progress to ensure needling is helping you.
Yes. Any technique that punctures the skin has a risk of complications. It is important you know the risks before treatment.
Common minor complications that usually resolve on their own include:
Pain during treatment
Pain following treatment
Less common complications that range from mild to significant include:
Aggravation of symptoms
Release of emotions
A stuck or bent needle is an uncommon but significant complication that may require medical attention. Serious complications are very rare and usually require intervention from other health-care providers include:
Breakage of needle in the body
Puncture of vital tissue (e.g., a puncture of lung tissue causing it to collapse which is called a pneumothorax).
To reduce the impact of complications:
Eat before your appointment
Show up well rested to your appointment
Tell your physiotherapist if you have any concerns, including past experiences where you have fainted from receiving a needle
Follow your physiotherapist’s advice about positioning and movement during and after treatment
Let your physiotherapist know if you experience pain, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath or if you are feeling unwell
Inform your physiotherapist of any changes to medications such as blood thinners or pain relievers
Communicate with your physiotherapist throughout treatment. Discuss your treatment and ensure your questions are answered.
You can request your physiotherapist stop needling treatment at any time.