LANGLEY NOW OPEN (Limited-Time Promotion Available)

IMS Therapy

Intramuscular stimulation is abbreviated as IMS. IMS is a physiotherapy treatment that is used to relax tense muscles. IMS involves inserting a small solid acupuncture needle (without any medicine) into the muscle beneath the skin.

What is Intramuscular Stimulation Therapy (IMS)?

For many people living with chronic or recurring pain, it can feel like there is no end in sight. Here at Inspine Therapy, we use multiple forms of physiotherapy and treatments to promote faster, more permanent recovery and prevent future injuries and discomfort. IMS Therapy is just one of the options our experienced team use to fight pain and increase mobility.

Intramuscular stimulation or IMS was invented in Canada in the 1970s. It can be used to treat chronic or recurring muscle pain with dry needling. Thousands of Canadians experience chronic or recurrent muscle or musculoskeletal pain every day, and what they feel is typically caused by nerve dysfunction or irritation.

Why does IMS Therapy work?

When nerves become irritated or malfunction, the way we compensate for the resulting pain often means connected muscles get weaker and tenser, which can actually lead to shortening of the muscles themselves and tendons that connect them together. This tightening and shrinking makes us uncomfortable, and it can be difficult to feel relaxed, which in turn, can exacerbate the original problem. Both pain and the stiffness caused by tight muscles can be successfully treated with IMS Therapy, and your therapist may use it as part of a comprehensive broader treatment plan.

IMS Therapy is so effective for a couple of different reasons. When the therapist inserts a fine needle into tight bands within the affected muscle, it causes a micro-injury. Your body responds to that by sending more blood to the area, promoting faster healing. Dry needling also causes the muscle to cramp, which prompts nerves in your spinal cord to react and relax the muscle. That helps the muscle to function more normally.

IMS Therapy: What can I expect when I visit a Physiotherapist in Coquitlam & Port Moody?

When you visit a Port Moody or Coquitlam physio, they’ll perform a thorough and comprehensive examination, which may extend to discussing your issues and any recent injuries. If they think you will respond well to IMS, they’ll insert extremely fine needles, similar to the needles used in acupuncture therapy, into the problem muscle. This is the process of dry needling. It serves to increase mobility and reduce pain, but it also promotes blood flow, which in turn stimulates faster healing.

The vast majority of patients don’t experience any significant pain during IMS treatments, but it can be slightly uncomfortable. IMS Therapy sessions are quick. The resulting pain relief outweighs any brief discomfort for most people. That can happen over a range of time, with some patients experiencing significant relief soon after a session and others a couple of days later. With reduced pain, most people also regain increased mobility and function of the affected muscle. Some patients who receive IMS Therapy may report soreness in the treated area within the following 24-hour period, but it’s rare for even mild discomfort to last that long.

IMS Therapy in Port Moody and Coquitlam: How Many Treatments Will I need?

The number of sessions you require will depend entirely on your problem and other factors assessed by one of our team of experienced Port Moody & Coquitlam physiotherapists. Those factors may include how long you’ve been experiencing an issue, how bad the condition is, and the rate at which your body heals.

The quicker you seek out a qualified Coquitlam or Port Moody physiotherapist, the better because more recent injuries tend to take fewer treatments to resolve. In such cases, patients may only need between one and three treatments, but with more prolonged issues, people may need up to a dozen sessions before they get the benefit of real ongoing pain relief.

When you visit Inspine Therapy, your physio will assess how much time you need between sessions based on the same factors they observed during your initial examination, and when your body gets used to the treatments, they may adjust to suit.

Conditions Treated with IMS

Your physiotherapist may use IMS Therapy as part of a treatment plan for many different conditions, which can include:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Back pain, neck pain and injuries
  • Headaches
  • Tennis or Golfer’s elbow
  • Some knee injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Limited mobility and stiffness in a variety of muscles and joints
  • Limited mobility and stiffness in a variety of muscles and joints


IMS Therapy specifically targets chronic or ongoing musculoskeletal pain, so it’s unlikely your therapist will turn to it if you have pain caused inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. They’re equally unlikely to use IMS to treat pain resulting from cancer or neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. IMS is also not recommended during pregnancy or immediately after surgery or some infections.

IMS in Port Moody and Coquitlam

Our Port Moody physiotherapists undertake specific technique training and are fully certified to perform treatments to use IMS. If you’d like to learn more about how IMS Therapy can help you regain mobility and reduce pain, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team of Physios covering the Coquitlam and Port Moody areas. You can book an appointment easily online, or call us on 604-936-8288 to discuss your needs.