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IMS And Dry Needling in Edmonton

IMS And Dry Needling in Edmonton

Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is a treatment approach applied by licensed and trained therapists to relieve trigger points in muscles that may be causing musculoskeletal pain. Fine, sterile dry needling needles are gently inserted into specific areas to alleviate muscle tension and restore function. A thorough assessment is required before the treatment to ensure the technique is appropriate and beneficial.

The technique has gained popularity amongst patients and therapists alike as an alternative treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions, including pain, sports injuries, and chronic conditions. Our physiotherapists in Edmonton, AB, are licensed and trained in dry needling therapy. Keep reading to learn more about dry needling physiotherapy at Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic.

What Is IMS And Dry Needling?

IMS therapy is a full assessment and treatment approach for relieving myofascial trigger points and muscle tension. It was originally developed by a Canadian-based doctor, Dr. Gunn in the 1970s and has since been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, and sports injuries. Myofascial trigger points within soft tissue can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. These points can also cause pain that radiates to other areas of the body, called referred pain.

The IMS technique involves a thorough assessment to identify myofascial trigger points and the underlying cause of the symptoms. This includes an evaluation of the patient's medical history, a physical examination, and any imaging or laboratory tests that may be needed. Once the appropriate treatment is decided, a trained therapist gently inserts thin needles into specific points within the soft tissue of the body. The needle is then moved in a specific way to stimulate the muscle, causing a reflexive contraction or “twitch response”. This contraction helps to release the trigger point and promote healing within the tissue.

The goal of IMS is to release muscle tension and tightness to alleviate pain and restore function. IMS therapy may involve a series of treatment sessions, depending on the cause and severity of symptoms. In most cases, the treatment is complemented with other treatments such as massage, exercise, or medications prescribed by a doctor.

Conditions Treated With IMS And Dry Needling

IMS has been found to be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, and sports injuries. The following are some of the conditions a physiotherapist may prescribe dry needling for: a

  • Headaches
  • Muscle and tendon pain
  • Neck pain and shoulder pain Chronic conditions, such as arthritis and low back pain
  • Sporting injuries, such as muscle strain
  • Overuse injuries, including patella tendinopathy and tennis elbow
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS)

As IMS and dry needling are designed to stimulate the muscle tissue, the treatment can provide instant relief, but it may also need several days to take effect. It’s important to follow the instructions from the physiotherapist in order to minimize the risk of any side effects and improve the clinical outcome.

Contraindications Of Dry Needling

Dry needling is generally considered safe when performed by a qualified therapist. However, there are some precautionary situations or situations where dry needling may be contraindicated. These may include:

  • Active infections
  • Bleeding disorders or blood thinners
  • Allergies, particularly sensitivity or allergy to metal
  • Neurological conditions, particularly those at increased risk of nerve damage
  • Pacemakers and other implanted devices
  • Anyone at risk of complications from dry needling

The IMS assessment is a critical part of the process to identify these precautions and contraindications. It is important to discuss any medical conditions or concerns with the therapist before undergoing dry needling. The therapist can determine whether the dry needling is safe and appropriate for each patient’s individual needs.

Intramuscular Stimulation Assessment Edmonton

Due to the complex nature of the treatment, IMS therapy should only be applied by a trained therapist. Before administering dry needling or IMS, our physiotherapists at Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic conduct a thorough intramuscular stimulation assessment of each patient to determine if the treatment is appropriate. The assessment includes the following:

Medical History

Our physiotherapists will ask about the medical history information, including current symptoms, past medical conditions, medications, and allergies. They will also ask about the patient's pain level, the duration of the pain, and any exacerbating or alleviating factors. The medical history is essential to determine if the patient has any contraindications for dry needling or IMS.

Physical Examination

A comprehensive physical examination will also be completed by our physiotherapists. They will assess the patient's posture, range of motion, strength, and flexibility. The physiotherapists will also palpate the muscles to identify any trigger points.

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions. These tests can include X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound. Diagnosis tests are useful in identifying structural abnormalities or soft tissue damage.

The Benefits Of IMS And Dry Needling

One of the benefits of IMS is that it can be a relatively painless procedure. The needles used are very fine, and the insertion technique is designed to minimize discomfort. Patients may experience a sensation of pressure or heaviness, but this typically subsides quickly. Some patients may also experience temporary soreness or bruising at the insertion site, but this is usually mild and resolves quickly.

Some of the other benefits of IMS and dry needling include:

  • Pain Relief: Dry needling and IMS can reduce pain by releasing tension in the muscles. 
  • Improved Range of Motion: Dry needling and IMS can improve range of motion by promoting healing and tissue regeneration.
  • Faster Recovery: Dry needling and IMS can accelerate the recovery process after injuries.

The Risks Of IMS And Dry Needling 

Like any medical procedure, dry needling may have some side effects. The risks of dry needling include soreness and bruising, however these side effects usually resolve within a few days. In rare cases, there is a risk of infection. Our physiotherapists prioritise the safety and comfort of our patients. If any unusual or unexplained symptoms develop, contact the clinic immediately. 

The Revive Difference For Dry Needling In Edmonton 

Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic in Edmonton offers a personalized, holistic, and collaborative approach to IMS and dry needling that prioritises each of our patients’ needs and goals. The Revive difference:

Qualified Physiotherapists 

Revive has a team of licensed and qualified physiotherapists trained in IMS and dry needling techniques. All our therapists have extensive knowledge of anatomy and are skilled in identifying trigger points and other areas of muscle tension.

Thorough And Personalized Approach

At Revive, our physiotherapists personalise each treatment to suit each patient’s unique needs and preferences. They take the time to thoroughly understand each of our patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and treatment goals to develop a treatment plan that is right for them.

Collaborative Care

Our physiotherapists communicate with other practitioners, such as doctors or other physiotherapists, to ensure that each patient’s treatment plan is well-rounded and effective.

Discover The Benefits Of IMS And Dry Needling At Revive

Intramuscular stimulation is an effective treatment technique for a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including pain, injuries, and other chronic conditions. Dry needling is a relatively painless procedure with few side effects and many benefits, including pain relief, improved range of motion, and faster recovery.

For anyone with an injury or chronic condition, consider visiting one of our qualified dry needling therapists at Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic in Edmonton. Consult one of our experienced physiotherapists and feel the difference!

Frequently Asked Questions About IMS And Dry Needling Is dry needling safe?

Dry needling is generally considered a safe technique when performed by a qualified therapist. However, there are potential risks and side effects to be aware of, including soreness and bruising at the site of needle insertion. However, the side effects normally resolve quickly. 

Does dry needling hurt?

Dry needling can cause some discomfort or pain during the procedure, but the level of pain can vary depending on a number of factors, including the area being treated and individual pain tolerance. At Revive, our physiotherapists do everything to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. 

How does dry needling relieve pain?

The exact mechanism by which dry needling works to relieve pain is not fully understood. However, dry needling is thought to increase blood flow, promote endorphin release, relieve muscle tension, and positively disrupt nerve signals to help restore function and alleviate pain. 

Is dry needling the same as acupuncture?

Dry needling and acupuncture are both techniques that involve the insertion of fine, sterile needles to relieve pain and promote healing. The key difference is dry needling is a modern technique based on the principles of anatomy, physiology, and neurology. It can only be applied by a licensed and qualified therapist. 

Where to find dry needling in Edmonton? 

Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic offers dry needling therapy for all suitable conditions and injuries. For those looking for a licensed and trained therapist for dry needling therapy in Edmonton, chat to our team to find out how dry needling can help!


Lifemark. INTRAMUSCULAR STIMULATION. Available from: 

Reformotiv. The Origin of Intramuscular Stimulation. Available from: 

Momentum physical therapy. What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) in Physiotherapy? Available from: 

UBC. Gunn IMS. Available from: 

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