Intramuscular Stimulation Therapy Specialist Q&A
Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is a highly effective physiotherapy treatment for chronic pain and muscle tightness. At Prosper Health & Rehab, our team of specialists offers intramuscular stimulation for non-invasive and comprehensive pain therapy. For more information, contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve in Vancouver, BC and Surrey, BC.
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Intramuscular Stimulation (commonly known as ‘IMS’ or ‘Dry Needling’) is a well-researched technique that uses small acupuncture needles to help relax tight and painful muscles.
Developed in the 1970’s in Vancouver by Dr. Gunn, it has become a technique used in pain and disability management in modern therapy all over the world.
Physiotherapists perform intramuscular stimulation (IMS) by inserting an acupuncture needle into a tight and shortened muscle band.
A tight muscle can develop trigger points when it is injured or compensates for an injury at another body location. It can also develop trigger points when it receives abnormal signals from the spinal column or the nervous system.
Physiotherapists who are trained to recognize symptoms of neuropathic pain are qualified to administer IMS. An X-ray, MRI, bone, or CT scan cannot reveal neuropathy pain, so this physical examination is necessary.
The purpose of IMS treatment is to specifically target muscles that are shortened as a result of neuropathic pain with sterile acupuncture needles. Dry needling is used in IMS treatment to target the affected areas of the body. During acupuncture, the needle may be inserted into stretched, tender muscle bands or into muscles near the spine where the nerve roots have become irritated and hypersensitive.
Physiotherapists insert the acupuncture needle into trigger points after locating them. While the physiotherapist moves the needle through the tightened muscle band, you should feel a deep ache or twitching sensation. Once the tightened muscles have been sufficiently stimulated, the needle will be removed. There may be several trigger points used in this process by your practitioner.
Muscles are reset and relaxed during this process, thus reducing pain and allowing you to move more freely.
Among the most important applications of IMS are the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain and neuropathic pain. The most likely candidates for IMS are those with lower back pain, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic whiplash, sciatica, or fibromyalgia.
It is important to release muscle shortening, which presses on the nerve and irritates it. You can desensitize supersensitive areas, and you can release your shortened muscles from their persistent pull. When muscles are shortened under contracture, they produce mechanical pain from muscle pull. IMS helps to release those muscles. Pain is effectively treated with IMS by treating the underlying neuropathic condition.
It is common for people to suffer from chronic neuropathic pain or musculoskeletal pain caused by nerve irritation. Muscles whose nerves are malfunctioning can become weak, tight, and shortened, resulting in pain. There is no feeling of relaxation in your muscles. With chronic and recurrent muscle pain conditions, IMS may ease the pain and stiffness.
After your first session, intramuscular stimulation (IMS) will loosen tight muscles and reduce pain. In general, we expect some improvement after the first session, but typically 3-4 sessions are needed to confirm that IMS is working, with most injuries resolving after 8-10 sessions.
As well as affecting the stretch reflex, nerve input, and muscle itself, the needle creates a tiny wound when it is inserted into the muscle, which stimulates blood flow to the area.
Long-term tight muscles have lower circulation and healthy tissue levels because they have less circulation. With IMS treatment, fresh blood cells will be stimulated in the area, creating a healthy inflammatory response to eliminate any excess toxins.
After six to ten sessions of IMS treatment, patients will see benefits. There is a cumulative nature to each session, with each session building on the last. A person with a severe condition may need to undergo more sessions than someone with a less severe condition. The number of sessions you need will also increase if your pain has been ongoing for a long time. It is recommended to take a one-week break between sessions to allow your body to heal and adapt to the positive effects of IMS.
IMS is available at Prosper Health & Rehab. We serve patients from Vancouver BC, Surrey BC, Burnaby BC, Richmond BC, Langley BC, and Coquitlam BC.