IMS Vancouver

A physio is seen providing IMS to client in a physio clinic

What is IMS Vancouver?

IMS or Intramuscular Stimulation is the use of an acupuncture needle to relieve pressure/pain in a muscle. Ultimately, this will loosen the muscle to help change the course of pain in the muscle. We have many qualified physios at Burrard Physio who can perform IMS in Vancouver.  A tight painful muscle will send a signal of “pain” into your spine and brain (nervous system). With a muscle released and at ease- it will send a different signal into your spine and brain which now says “no pain, I’m happy”. Nervous system issues can make tissues in the body hypersensitive and dysfunctional resulting in pain and possibly the inability to function properly.

The effect of IMS can have a promising affect on chronic pain or pain that has been affecting a client for longer than 3 months. Nearly 8 million Canadians live with chronic pain, which can have major impacts on a person’s:

  • physical health
  • mental health
  • ability to take part in everyday activities

Pain is an noxious (or unpleasant), sensory and emotional experience associated with perceived, anticipated, actual or potential tissue damage. The experience of pain is unique to each individual and personal experience, and so it  can vary widely from person to person when it comes to this experience.


A physio is seen providing IMS to client in a physio clinic

Physio Shahab performs IMS on Kerry

Will IMS help me?

IMS can help treat muscles, joints, tendons, fascia and nerves. Some conditions we can treat are:

  • low back pain
  • neck pain
  • “tennis elbow”
  • “golfer’s elbow”
  • sciatica
  • knee pain (“patellofemoral syndrome”/”chondromalacia patella”)
  • shoulder pain (“rotator cuff syndrome”)
  • hip pain (“IT band syndrome”, “piriformis syndrome”)
  • “myofascial pain syndrome”

In order to decide if this is an appropriate treatment option for you, you will have a discussion about this with your physiotherapist. After a  medical history review and a discussion about the symptoms  you are presenting with, IMS can be discussed. If you are comfortable with the procedure and your physio agrees it would be of benefit to your condition, you will be provided with the risks, the benefits, the alternative treatment options. If you, the client are agreeable, then you may begin IMS!

How often to do IMS?

IMS has a bit of a “snowball” effect, and usually you want to get a few sessions done. 7-10 days apart seem to help the “add up effect” of relaxing these painful structures, consistently, giving them trouble to tighten back up.  However, everyone is different and your treatment plan will be determined by your physio and you, based on what the condition is, and how the body is responding to treatments.


Want to know if this treatment is an option for you? Book with one of our physiotherapists who is certified to perform IMS!