Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)


What is intramuscular therapy (IMS) or dry needling?

Dry needling/Intramuscular Stimulation/ Intramuscular therapy is a treatment technique that uses a solid filament needle to penetrate the skin in order to reach a myofascial trigger point within a muscle.

Trigger points are taut bands within a muscle that may cause local and referred pain as well as limit movement.

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How is IMS different than acupuncture?

While using the same needles, dry needling/IMS IS NOT acupuncture. Dry Needling/IMS utilizes the anatomical landmarks of the body to locate and treat trigger points relieving a person’s pain and improve overall function where as tradition all a acupuncture utilizes specific points on the body that exist along meridians.


Is IMS a suitable treatment option for my condition?

At Collingwood Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists have received extensive training for the appropriate technique of using sterile, single use dry needles. Your physiotherapist will be taking some history and performing an assessment to determine if your treatment area is suitable for IMS treatment.

It is important to let your therapist know if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, if you’re on any prescription medications, or if you are immunocompromised, as you may not be suitable for this form of treatment.


What can I expect from an IMS treatment session?

During the session, the therapist will clean the skin with Stanhexidine. When the needle is inserted into the taut muscle or trigger point, you may experience a feeling of heaviness, achiness or a cramping sensation of that muscle. The therapist may then decide to leave the needles in place for a period of time or remove then immediately.


What should I do to prepare for my IMS treatment?




Have a light snack prior to your session.




Refrain from caffeine, alcohol and nicotine at least 2 hours prior and after.




Bring appropriate clothing for the area to be treated: tank top, shorts etc.


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