Dry needling, and its counterpart intramuscular stimulation (IMS), is a modern physical therapy treatment designed to ease muscular pain. Its premise involves stimulating specific trigger points in your body using a dry needle – one without medication or injection.

Dry needling (which can also be known as trigger point dry needling) is a westernized concept based on acupuncture. It is a fast and effective technique used for effective pain relief, targeting specific muscles with fine needles.

These needles are inserted into areas of the muscle known as trigger points, which are tight, knotted areas that are the root cause of pain in the body. Once the trigger point is released, it can alleviate pain and enhance overall function and mobility.


In simple terms, think of dry needling like a reset button for your muscles. Imagine your muscle is a knotted piece of string; the needle acts like a pin that untangles those knots, helping the muscle to relax and function better.

The needle is inserted into certain points in the muscle, which can be likened to finding the precise reset button on a device. When pressed, or in this case needled, these points help relieve pain and restore the muscle’s normal function. This is usually accompanied by a local twitch response and an increase in blood flow to the area.

It is possible to treat deep structures, such is the precision of the technique. It is a successful technique for many different problems, particularly chronic back and neck pain.


The efficacy of dry needling treatments and intramuscular stimulation has been well-documented in the scientific community. Numerous studies have reported a marked reduction in pain and improved function in patients undergoing these physical therapy treatments.

For example, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that trigger point dry needling significantly reduced neck pain by targeting and alleviating muscle tension. It’s noteworthy that this research signifies a milestone in understanding the impact of dry needling on chronic pain conditions.

A pivotal study published in the Journal of Pain Research in 2017 investigated the effectiveness of dry needling for individuals suffering from chronic lower back pain.

The research involved a total of 50 participants, all of whom had been experiencing persistent lower back pain for at least six months. The participants were divided into two groups; one group received dry needling therapy, while the other group was given a placebo treatment.


Immediate Therapeutic Pain Relief
Enhanced Mobility and Flexibility
Improved Posture
Extended Pain-free Periods


Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation, or GunnIMS, is a form of deep dry needling named after its developer, Dr. Chan Gunn. This therapeutic technique is aimed at diagnosing and treating chronic pain of neuropathic origin. Unlike traditional dry needling, GunnIMS takes into account the relationship between the nervous system and musculoskeletal pain.

The technique involves the insertion of fine, flexible needles into the muscles, tendons, and ligaments where it has been identified that the nerve root may be irritated or sensitive.

By targeting these specific areas, GunnIMS works to diminish hypersensitivity, relieve muscle tension, promote blood flow and address the root cause of the pain.

One of the unique aspects of GunnIMS lies in its comprehensive approach to pain management. It doesn’t just focus on the area where the pain is felt but also treats the underlying nerve pathway, offering


While both dry needling and acupuncture utilize fine needles for treatment, dry needling stands out for several reasons.

First, it targets specific trigger points in the muscles, which are often the root cause of pain, offering immediate relief.

Unlike acupuncture treatments that follows a more holistic approach based on the traditional Chinese concept of energy meridians in the body, dry needling is more focused, dealing directly with the muscular issues causing discomfort. A dry needling practitioner will usually use anatomical knowledge, rather than meridians, to guide their treatment.

Its westernized, scientific application backed by numerous studies, including localized pain management and enhanced mobility, often makes it a more appealing choice for those seeking fast and effective relief from back and neck pain.