Clearwater Physical Therapy

IMS Dry Needling

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a form of dry needling for myofascial trigger point pain developed and initially clinically tested by Dr. Chan Gunn, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Pain Center.

IMS is an ideal treatment for people with a type of continual persistent, sometimes chronic, soft tissue pain known as myofascial trigger point pain. Myofascial trigger points are localized areas of tightness and irritation that develop in muscles that are shortened due to nerve irritation.

This technique uses a fine-gauge monofilament needle attached to a plunger device to penetrate the muscle body. IMS needles are much, much thinner and smaller than the type of hollow needle used to draw blood. Based on neurophysiological principles, the IMS needle works by causing the muscle fibers in the immediate vicinity to briefly contract and then relax. Over time this contraction and relaxation loosens the muscle fiber. In this way, IMS dry needling treatment is cumulative. The number of treatments you require depends on the duration and severity of your condition, the presence of scar tissue and how quickly you heal.