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Intramuscular Manual Therapy (IMT), also known as dry needling, is a manual therapy technique designed to improve muscle function, induce relaxation and decrease pain. This technique is performed in addition to the traditional therapy assessment, exercise and mobilization techniques.
IMT involves the insertion of a sterile needle into a muscle to decrease spasm and trigger point activity. These thin needles are inserted at the myofascial trigger points, which can be a cause of referred pain. The muscles then contract and release, improving flexibility and decreasing symptoms. This can help resolve pain and muscle tension as well as promote healing. This is not traditional Chinese acupuncture, but is based on a western medical approach to myofascial trigger points and physical assessment.
IMT is effective for resolving soft tissue dysfunction, tendonosis, contractures, trigger points, tissue adhesions, and other neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
Potential advantages include immediate reduction of local, referred and widespread pain, and the restoration of range of motion and improved muscle activation patterns.
Frequently Asked Questions
What conditions may be appropriate for treatment with IMT or dry needling?
Common conditions treated include:
- Athletic Overuse Injuries causing - hip and/or knee pain, back and/or neck pain
- Frozen Shoulder
- Tennis Elbow
- Myofascial Pain
- Post-surgical Pain
- Non-Traumatic Tendonitis
- Bursitis and Capsulitis
- Movement Disorders / Dysfunctions
- Plantar Fasciitis /Achilles Tendonitis
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome
- And many other conditions
How often will I need treatment with or IMT or dry needling?
The recommended treatment schedule is every 5-7 days. Depending on your diagnosis and treatment response, 2-3 treatments may be all that is required. IMT is a valuable and effective treatment for musculoskeletal pain. Our therapists are extensively trained and experienced in this technique. Please speak with your physical therapist regarding your individualized treatment and concerns.
Patient information about IMT and pdfs from the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy:
Information and Appointments
Call: (203) 230-9226