Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

imsIMS (Intramuscular Stimulation)/ Dry Needling,
is a very effective technique, developed by Dr. Chan Gunn, for the treatment of chronic pain. Pain that occurs and persists indefinitely in the absence of ongoing trauma is called “neuropathic” pain. Nerve conductivity is compromised and this is always associated with muscle shortening. This creates a “supersensitivity” in the involved area. Extensive medical tests will show that there is “nothing wrong”.

When muscle shortening occurs in the spinal muscles, compression of the disc, spinal joints and consequently the spinal nerves can create pain and dysfunction in the area.
ims_shortened_muscleBecause the affected nerves not only supply the muscles, but also the skin, Blood vessels and organs, other changes can also occur over time. These can include the following:

  • Swelling
  • Hair loss
  • Cold skin
  • Goose bumps
  • Sweat over the area
  • Brittle nails
  • Psoriasis


The IMS (Intramuscular Stimulation/Dry Needling) treatment involves the insertion of very fine acupuncture needles into the tight muscle bands. The muscle responds with a reflex grabbing sensation like a deep, achy muscle cramp and then it relaxes (lengthening). Usually an immediate change is noted by the patient. Range of motion improves and the muscles feel more relaxed. The conductivity of the nerve improves and initiates a healing response. The effects of IMS are cumulative. Eventually the condition is healed and pain is resolved.

  • FREQUENCY of TREATMENTS: Treatments are usually booked 1x/week to allow for tissue healing. Patients may experience a deep achy feeling following treatment for 24-48 hours. This is normal, and considered a good reaction. We encourage the use of moist heat to help with anypost-treatment soreness. The number of treatments varies from patient to patient depending on the extent and duration of the condition.CONTRAINDICATIONS:IMS is not recommended if you are pregnant, have a local infection or are a hemophiliac. Please inform your therapist if you are taking anti-coagulants.

    Some of the therapists at Tsawwassen Sports & Orthopaedic Physio Corp. are certified to do IMS. For further information you can direct your questions to these therapists or refer to Dr. Gunn’s website at:

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