IMS can provide significant – even permanent – pain relief.

When you have a condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or a frozen shoulder, the muscle tissue and nerves in the affected areas have become irritated, and your muscles have contracted and shortened in response.

To relieve the pain and get your full range of movement back, you need to release the muscles – and that’s where Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), can help.

IMS gets to the source of your pain.

Intramuscular Stimulation is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, and rehabilitation from injury – even pain and injury prevention. But it doesn’t just treat your pain, it finds and eliminates its source. It treats the neuromuscular problems at the root of symptoms such as elbow pain or restricted movement in the neck, hips, and shoulders.

It’s a safe treatment with few side effects that is used by everyone from injured athletes to chronic pain sufferers. The treatment uses a fine needle to stimulate trigger points – tender, highly sensitive points within the muscle – so that the shortened muscle can relax, lengthen, and the area around it can begin to heal.

IMS can help treat a range of conditions, including:

  • Muscle strains/tears
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis and golfers’ elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Plantar fasciitis/plantar foot pain
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Compartment syndrome

How does it work?

A single, monofilament needle is inserted into trigger points in the muscle to stimulate and then relax it. It’s a precise operation performed by a trained physiotherapist and for some clients, the pain relief is immediate.

Most clients won’t feel the needle entering the skin, but when the muscle is needled, they may experience a cramping sensation as it contracts and sometimes even twitches, (often a sign of an effective treatment). The sensation only lasts for seconds because, once the muscle cramps, the therapist removes the needle and moves to the next point. The feeling can be uncomfortable, but it can also produce immediate and lasting relief from pain.

The effects of IMS are cumulative – generally, clients will notice functional improvements within two to four treatments. Each needling session stimulates a local inflammatory response in the tissue that produces healing, until, eventually, the condition is healed and the pain disappears.

I had significant neck issues for several years and I had trouble shoulder checking when I was driving. Dry needling (IMS) has been instrumental in my recovery – I can move my neck freely again.John, Vancouver

How is Intramuscular Stimulation different from Acupuncture?

Although IMS uses an acupuncture needle, the practice originated in Western medicine and it targets distinct myofascial trigger points rather than traditional acupuncture points. IMS employs a physiotherapy-based assessment, rather than the meridian, pulse, or tongue-based diagnosis used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The goal is to optimize movement and physical function, rather than to address dysfunction in the meridians.

Interested in booking an appointment or finding out more?

To arrange an appointment, please call our office at 604-228-1474 or use our online request form.