All posts in Acupuncture

IMS/ Intramuscular Stimulation/ Dry Needling

IMS/ Intramuscular Stimulation/ Dry Needling

IMS/ Intramuscular Stimulation/Dry needling

Whether recovering from an injury or dealing with everyday aches, tight muscles can be a pain in the neck. Functional dry needling is a new therapeutic treatment that stimulates twitches to provide pain relief.

“Functional dry needling involves inserting a very thin needle into a trigger point, a small knot or painful area in a muscle to stimulate a small twitch,” said Matt Holland, a Houston Methodist physical therapist. “The twitch can help release tight muscles and decrease pain.”

Functional dry needling is based on assessing deficits in the musculoskeletal system and treating the trigger points or taut bands associated with those deficits. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, such as sprains or strains, to provide pain relief. Common treatment areas are the neck, shoulder, hip, quadriceps, foot, and ankle, but any muscle with a trigger point can be treated with functional dry needling. During a July Fourth vacation, Melissa Hoover severely strained her left calf while playing volleyball with family.

“My first treatment was a bit unnerving,” Hoover said. “One needle was put in a trigger point on my leg, and the muscle twitched so much. The next day, my calf felt much better, so I’ve continued to get the needling treatments. I really feel like they have helped speed my recovery.”

Functional dry needling has also become a popular treatment with athletes, including the Houston Texans.

“This is a great tool for athletes to decrease muscle soreness, increase muscle function and increase flexibility,” said Geoff Kaplan, Houston Texans director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer. “The research behind functional dry needling proves the benefit from a chemical, physiological, and anatomical response, but the biggest reason we use it regularly with our players is because they feel significantly better after you do it.”

Kaplan adds that their soreness has decreased, their pain has decreased, and their function has improved. During peak training times, he says they will dry needle anywhere from 10-20 players per day.

Holland said that patients interested in the treatment should seek a medical provider who is certified to provide functional dry needling to ensure their safety during treatment. Most insurance plans will cover the cost of functional dry needling treatments.


Neck Pain: More women suffer than men. Why?

Neck Pain: More women suffer than men. Why?

More women than men suffer from neck pain. Why?

Women are 1.38 times more likely than men to report neck pain due to cervical degenerative disc disease, according to a study of adult patients treated at Loyola Medicine’s Pain Management Center.

The study by Meda Raghavendra, MD and Joseph Holtman, MD, PhD, of Loyola University Medical Center and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Palm Springs, Ca.

The findings add to the growing body of research on the differences in which men and women experience pain. Previous studies have found that females are more likely to be treated at pain clinics for chronic pain and that certain painful conditions, such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, are more common in women. Various explanations have been proposed, including hormonal differences and the belief that men may be less willing to report pain.

Cervical degenerative disc disease is a common cause of neck pain. Symptoms include stiff or inflexible neck, burning, tingling and numbness. Pain is most prevalent when the patient is upright or moving the head.

The Loyola study included 3,337 patients who were treated at Loyola’s Pain Management Center. Sixty-one percent were female.

Drs. Raghavendra and Holtman conducted a similar study of patients who were treated at Loyola’s Pain Management Center for lumbosacral degenerative disc disease (lower back pain). The prevalence in females, 12 percent, was slightly higher than the prevalence in males, 11 percent, but this difference was not statistically significant.


Avoid awkward positions, prevent Back Pain

Avoid awkward positions, prevent Back Pain

New research reveals the physical and psychosocial factors that significantly increase the risk of low back pain onset. In fact results published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), show that being engaged in manual tasks involving awkward positions will increase the risk of low back pain by eight times. Those who are distracted during activities or fatigued also significantly increase their risk of acute low back pain.

At some point, nearly 10% of the world’s population experience back pain, which is the leading cause of disability according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease report (2010). WHO reports that low back pain has a greater impact on global health than malaria, diabetes, or lung cancer; yet little progress has been made to identify effective prevention strategies.

“Understanding which risk factors contribute to back pain and controlling exposure to these risks is an important first step in prevention,” explains Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira, Ph.D., with The George Institute for Global Health and Sydney Medical School at The University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. “Our study is the first to examine brief exposure to a range of modifiable triggers for an acute episode of low back pain.”

For this case-crossover study, researchers recruited 999 participants from 300 primary care clinics in Sydney, Australia, who had an acute low back pain episode between October 2011 and November 2012. Study subjects were asked to report exposure to 12 physical or psychosocial factors in the 96 hours prior to the onset of back pain.

The risk of a new episode of low back pain significantly increased due to a range of triggers, from an odds ratio of 2.7 for moderate to vigorous physical activity to 25.0 for distraction during an activity. Researchers found that age moderated the effect of exposure to heavy loads, with odds ratio for individuals 20, 40, or 60 years of age at 13.6, 6.0, and 2.7, respectively. A new finding not reported previously was that back pain risk was highest between 7:00 a.m. and noon.

“Understanding which modifiable risk factors lead to low back pain is an important step toward controlling a condition that affects so many worldwide,” concludes A/Prof Ferreira. “Our findings enhance knowledge of low back pain triggers and will assist the development of new prevention programs that can reduce suffering from this potentially disabling condition.”

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
1.Daniel Steffens, Manuela L Ferreira, Jane Latimer, Paulo H Ferreira, Bart W Koes, Fiona Blyth, Qiang Li, Christopher G Maher. What triggers an episode of acute low back pain? A case-crossover study. Arthritis Care & Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/acr.22533


10 tips for Better Back Health

10 tips for Better Back Health

About 70 per cent of the general population will suffer from lower back pain at some time in their lives. Unfortunately for some, lower back pain is something that lingers and has to be managed on a day-to-day basis. But simple lifestyle changes can make a massive difference.

1. Keep moving:

If you tend to sit in one position for more than 20 to 30 minutes, change your position and move. Doing little things such as rolling your shoulders, rotating your head, stretching your arms up and standing for a brief period gets the blood pumping in and out of your muscles, and flushes unwanted toxins out.

2. Stop slouching:

Sitting in a slumped position puts stress on your ligaments, muscles and joints. Visualise a string attached to the crown of your head, which is pulling you straight up. Then pinch your shoulder blades back, and tuck your chin in slightly.

3. Streching:

Lying on your back and rolling your legs from side to side, the cat stretch and the cobra pose all loosen up your middle back.

4. Sitting on a Ball:

This is a great way of getting you to think about your sitting posture and engaging your core muscles. It will help reduce the strain on your middle and lower back and is good for office workers.

5. Use a lumbar roll:

Many chairs come with lumbar support, but nothing beats a rolled-up towel in the small of your back, or you can buy a lumbar roll for back support

6. Check your ergonomics:

Get your workstation checked. Look at your chair height and back support, computer screen height, keyboard and mouse position, and your distance from your desk.

7. Bend with your knees:

Carelessness with bending and lifting is the most common way of injuring your back. Be particularly cautious in the morning – your back is most vulnerable at this time

8. Start exercising:

Non-specific exercise is often a great way of keeping your back healthy. Daily walking is a great start.

9. Pilates:

Pilates is a great way of improving your posture and getting the correct muscles to perform the correct functions.

10. Get a second opinion:

There are too many old wives’ tales concerning back pain. If you are unsure about anything, our qualified physiotherapists can set the record straight.

Retrieved from:…