Barclay Centre403-233-7007 250, 444 – 7th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 0X8
Bow Valley Sq403-234-7557 310, 205 – 5th Avenue SW

Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2V7

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

The diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes when there is no obvious sign of injury or inflammation

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

Intramuscular stimulation (IMS), also referred to as dry needling, relieves acute and chronic pain caused by supersensitive nerves and muscle shortening. 

When you’ve had acute or prolonged repetitive trauma, nerves can become sensitized. Previously harmless signals become exaggerated, causing the muscles they supply to shorten. These shortened muscles cause pain by pulling on tendons, which compresses joints and nerves, causing further muscle shortening. Inserting fine acupuncture needles into the shortened muscles stimulates them to relax. If a muscle is shortened, the needle will cause a “cramping” or “Charlie horse” sensation as the muscle contracts further; this is followed by relaxation of the muscle.

Applying an electrical current to the needles may help very resistant areas to relax. Once the muscle relaxes, the nerve becomes desensitized and the body is able to heal. 

After needling, you may experience 24-48 hours of discomfort – similar to the feeling following deep massage. IMS is appropriate for people with muscular tension that is not responding to other methods of treatment. IMS isn’t recommended if you are pregnant, have a local infection, are a hemophiliac, or using anticoagulants.


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