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Intramuscular stimulation (also known as IMS therapy) has grown in popularity and use in recent years. It is a dry needling technique that utilizes thin, flexible acupuncture needles. Our careful, expert physiotherapist and certified IMS practitioners insert these needles into trigger points or knots in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, or near nerves in order to trigger a mechanical stimulation pain-relieving/healing response.

This is an amazing option that has been proven effective at treating underlying neuromusculoskeletal injuries that are chronic or long-lasting in nature. IMS is sometimes also referred to as dry needling. If you’re suffering from an issue that has been resistant to other types of treatment, surgery, or medications, there’s a good chance IMS therapy can help.

Minimally Invasive Dry Needling In Royal Oak Calgary

IMS therapy has proven itself in clinical studies to be highly effective at both treating your pain and healing the cause of the pain in your muscles.

With IMS therapy, there’s little to no risk of complications or uncomfortable side effects. One of the top reasons patients are choosing IMS therapy at our clinic is to avoid needing surgery, to promote injury recovery and ensure injury prevention. Many patients are also looking to alleviate their pain without the use of prescription medication that doesn’t actually address the underlying cause.

IMS therapy is an effective treatment that can even be performed after surgery to help you recover more quickly.

IMS therapy can help with a wide variety of conditions:

  • Whiplash/Neck pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Hip pain
  • Shoulder pain / shoulder injuries
  • Back pain
  • Knee pain relief
  • Sports injury caused by repetitive strain or sports related injuries
  • Dance injury
  • Injuries motor vehicle accidents
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Stiffness/Numbness in the legs
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Chronic tension/headaches
  • Frozen Shoulder/Rotator cuff tendinopathy
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle shortening
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Impaired range of motion
  • Tight muscles
  • Musculoskeletal pain

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

At your first appointment for IMS therapy, your physiotherapist will start by getting a medical history and doing an assessment of your muscles to find out if IMS is the best treatment option for you. If yes, then you will be provided with a tailored custom treatment plan. Often, IMS works better when combined with other physiotherapy techniques such as manual therapy, massage therapy, manipulative physiotherapy which your physiotherapist might recommend.

ims therapy calgary nw

Once your physiotherapist has discussed your health goals and an effective treatment plan with you, the treatment can begin whenever you are comfortable.

What Happens to the Muscles During IMS Physiotherapy

When your muscles are in knots or spasming we recognize it as being in a state of ‘shortening’. As the muscle fibers shorten they put pressure on nerve endings which can be incredibly painful and irritating.

IMS practitioners insert the dry needles into these shortening muscles in order to stimulate a response from the muscles stretch receptor. When the stretch receptor is activated the muscle responds by grabbing at the needle and then relaxing.

In a typical healthy muscle, there would be no response to the needle. The muscle would just stay relaxed around it. This is how practitioners can tell that they’ve successfully triggered the desired response from the stretch receptor.

In addition to relaxing these problem spots, inserting the needle also causes small amounts of inflammation which is useful in kick-starting your body’s own natural healing response. This is how over time with repeated treatments, IMS can assist your body in healing itself.

With the inflammation, you may feel a bit sore for a few days and you should expect to wait 1-2 weeks between sessions to allow your body to recover and have time to do the healing.

A Roadmap To Recovery with IMS Therapy Calgary NW

In addition to receiving highly specialized treatment, we also love to share our wealth of knowledge to help you make healthy decisions towards greater overall wellbeing. Feel free to ask questions at any point in the process.

Before you leave, we want to make sure you have a relevant therapeutic exercise prescription to help yourself in between sessions. We are prepared to advise on any activity adjustments that may improve your condition and overall health.

By taking a holistic approach towards your care, we will also ensure that you adapt to a more active lifestyle in the long run.

We’re here for you!

Vivian Overton Physiotherapist Photo

Vivian Overton


Vivian graduated with a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University in 2010. She moved to Calgary and has worked in private practice in Calgary since January of 2011 (Maximum Potential Physiotherapy since 2013 and Country Hills Physiotherapy since 2016). Vivian has a large focus on assessing and treating the body as a…

Joanna Smith PT Country Hills Physio Calgary NW

Joanna Smith


Joanna graduated from the University of Alberta in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. Prior to this she pursued a Kinesiology degree at the University of Calgary. A lifelong learner, continuing education courses have fuelled Joanna’s passion for her profession. She has completed post-graduate courses in manual therapy, Anatomical Acupuncture, GunnIMS, pain…

Alex Durbeniuk

Alex Durbeniuk


Alex is a recent graduate of the Master of Science in Physical Therapy program at the University of Alberta. Prior to starting the U of A physical therapy program, Alex completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Central Oklahoma. During his undergraduate program, Alex played four years of collegiate hockey and…


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Clinic Hours:

Monday 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
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