What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) Therapy & Dry Needling?

Dry Needling and Intramuscular stimulation IMS both involve inserting tiny acupuncture filaments into the affected areas of the body without injecting any substance. The needle sites can be targeted at the site of taut, painful muscle bands, and/or can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and super-sensitive.

The goal of both of these tools is to reset a muscle that is in a state of dysfunction due to injury, tightness, poor communication or movement patterns that results in feeling continued tightness or lack of firing that just won’t go away.

​In layman’s terms, the treatment uses acupuncture needles, to target specific muscles that have contracted and become shortened. These shortened muscles compress and irritate the nerves. This treatment can greatly reduce tightness and pain, while increasing flexibility and range of motion. In addition, the treatment increases blood flow to the injured tissue and helps to remodel painful scar tissue.

Typically positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms. Dry needling and IMS physiotherapy is an effective treatment with a hands-on approach for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

It is important to view Dry Needling or IMS treatment as one aspect of your rehabilitation plan of care. It is vital to perform the other aspects of physical therapy along with IMS or Dry Needling. ​This may include manual therapy, manipulative therapy, medical acupuncture, physical activity, active rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, myofascial release techniques, soft tissue release and mobilization, concussion care, deep tissue, chiropractic care, other modalities and most importantly an individualized exercise program.

IMS or dry needling will often elicit a muscle twitch response, which can help reset biochemical and electrical dysfunction within the muscle. This twitch response may feel like a cramping sensation locally or you may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which you are seeking treatment.

A reproduction of your pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of your symptoms. You may soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle.

Clean, Safe and Secure

At Market Mall Physiotherapy Calgary NW, your health is our number one priority so we’ve redesigned our clinic and safety protocols to keep you and our team safe.​

  • Appointments required
  • Masks required
  • Staff wears masks
  • Staff gets temperature checks
  • Staff required to disinfect surfaces between visits

Common Conditions and Types of Injuries Successfully Treated With IMS or Dry Needling Physiotherapy

  • ​Disc Injuries
  • Headaches
  • Temporomandibular Dysfunction
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfer’s Elbow
  • Whiplash Associated Disroder
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Musculoskeletal Injuries / Musculoskeletal Pain
  • Joint mobilization issues
  • Sciatica
  • Hamstring or Groin Strains
  • ACL injuries​
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Post-Operative Musculoskeletal Conditions
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Muscular imbalances
  • Pelvic health issues
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Chondrosis Patellae
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Chronic Low Back Pain
  • Text Neck
  • Shin Splints
  • ITB Friction Syndrome
  • Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Sports Injuries

Will IMS or Dry Needling Treatments Help Me?

​​You can benefit from IMS or Dry Needling if you are experiencing:

Chronic Injuries

Do you have injuries that constantly become re-aggravated? Tired of trying the same treatments with no results? Does this prevent you from achieving your goals?

Urinary Leakage

Muscles that constantly feel “tight”, or temporary relief with stretching or exercise, but no significant lasting changes or improvements.

Prolapse

Difficulty with improving your golf swing or sport technique? Dry Needling or IMS with an experienced physiotherapist can improve your activity and help achieve your goals!

Meet Our Physiotherapists

Talk to your Physiotherapist about your condition and get back to doing what you love… pain-free.

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Online Treatment Also Available

Although Video Consultations aren’t a new service, it may be new to you. And you may have some concerns or questions that need to be answered before you start treatment. Consider our no charge video consult where you will get all of your questions answered by a registered physiotherapist.

5 Things To Do After Dry Needling and IMS

At Market Mall Physiotherapy we always take an individualized approach to treatment and provide you with the best plan and home care instructions, which mostly varies from patient to patient. But, By Following These Five Helpful Steps Following Treatment, You Can Improve Your Symptoms and Reduce Your Pain!​

Hydrate

After Dry Needling or IMS, the muscles have released energy through a local twitch response. Your muscles will need water to rehydrate to assist in their recovery.

Light Activity

Dry Needling or IMS promotes restoration of the natural resting tension length of the muscle, thus reducing any trigger points that are impeding blood flow to the injured tissue. Performing light daily activities following a treatment session continues to encourage blood flow to the site and the remodelling of scar tissue.

Massage

Massage therapy with a foam roller or a trigger point ball following treatment. The post treatment soreness can be mitigated with increasing blood flow to the injured tissue through massage.

Heat

Heat is a great tool to use to reduce post treatment soreness as well as increasing blood flow to the injured tissue. Increasing blood flow to the treatment site can continue to promote tissue healing and improve the extensibility of the tissue.

Minimize Alcohol Intake

Alcohol is a diuretic – which means it causes your body to release more water, and thus can make you dehydrated. As your muscles are recovering from IMS or Dry Needling, staying hydrated is important in their recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions About IMS Therapy

IMS needling can be uncomfortable, and is often described as an odd sensation. The needle is inserted directly through the skin and into the muscle​ upon a muscle twitch or muscle contraction is stimulated. The muscle contraction releases energy (similar to that of a workout) and is often responsible for the muscle soreness most of us feel after a functional dry needling.

Most experience some form of muscle soreness after the dry needling session, but often you will already notice an improvement in your symptoms within a 24-48 hour window. Most patients will vary on how many sessions of dry needling they will need. The injury, the patient’s goal of treatment, and recommendation of the therapist will guide how many dry needling sessions are required for optimal health.

IMS and Dry needling, which follow evidence-based guidelines, are practiced by inserting needles into specific trigger points or taut bands of muscle fibers. Acupuncture, however, is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and needles points along traditional Chinese meridians for the purpose of altering the flow of Qi (energy). These points are often used to address widespread acute inflammation and acute pain.

IMS and Dry needling focuses on muscles with trigger points and specific musculoskeletal conditions that can help reduce referred pain patterns and can improve your strength and range of motion immediately following one session of. Acupuncture needles are often left in for an extended period of time. While IMS or Dry needling the filaments are only left in for a few seconds while they piston the muscle. ​

Market Mall Physiotherapy Calgary NW

  • 4935 40 Ave NW #328,
  • Calgary, AB T3A 2N1, Canada