Intramuscular Stimulation

Gunn IMS/Dry needling

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes (chronic pain conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system when there is no obvious sign of injury or inflammation). IMS is grounded in Western Medical Science and has a foundation in the 'radiculopathic' model of pain. The treatment utilizes acupuncture needles to target injured muscles that have become contracted and shortened from distress. The proposed effect is to relieve strain on muscle and joint structures which in turn leads to a decrease in pain.


What is the difference between acupuncture and IMS?


IMS uses a 'needling technique' as does acupuncture but they have different origins. Acupuncture is based on Chinese medicine, where needles are inserted into acupuncture points along body system meridians to treat a variety of conditions. IMS is based on Western Medicine. It recognizes that for a variety of reasons muscles shorten over time and as we age and place strain on their corresponding joints. An IMS needle is used to release the shortened muscle and decrease strain in the affected area. Gunn IMS is a specific dry needling technique taught at the University of British Columbia which recognizes 'subtle' neuropathy as a major component of chronic myofascial pain syndromes.


Neuropathic Pain is usually described by the following:

  • Pain without a known injury or recalled injury
  • Pain that has gradually gotten worse
  • 'Shooting' or 'stabbing' pain
  • Pain is felt with a normally painless activity or stimulus

If you have a chronic pain that hasn't resolved with conventional therapy and it sounds like the descriptions above you may benefit from IMS.