A road into the doctoral program: Interest in a clinical technique – Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation


I have been a musculoskeletal physical therapist for nearly twenty years and over that time, I have derived great satisfaction from my clinical work. A few years ago, however, I became interested in learning more about what had become my favourite clinical technique – Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation, or “IMS”. This is a dry needling technique that uses acupuncture needles to alleviate musculoskeletal problems by inserting them deep into muscles to reduce tightness and pain.

Clinically, I had found IMS to be extremely effective. I was also aware that any treatment becomes more powerful with a better understanding of its mechanisms, optimal dosages and the patient populations it is able to benefit. And so I became motivated to become involved in researching IMS, collaborating with Dr Alex Scott of the UBC Physical Therapy Department, conducting a randomised controlled trial investigating the effects of IMS on Achilles tendinopathy (http://www.vchri.ca/feature-stories/articles/2016/08/09/speeding-recovery-time-common-runners-injury). Finding I enjoyed the research process, I enrolled in a PhD at UBC, to further my research into the effects of IMS in a more formal way, in particular looking at its potential influence on nervous system dysfunction in tendinopathy.

Beyond my PhD, I hope to continue both researching and practicing IMS, with the ultimate goal of contributing to this field of research in a way that will make meaningful differences in the management of musculoskeletal pain.

Lyndal Solomons is a PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Sydney and a Master of Manual Therapy from the University of Western Australia