Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes. These are chronic pain conditions occurring in the musculoskeletal system and are often difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat as it usually presents with no sign of tissue damage or inflammation and may not be detected on x-ray, ultrasound or MRI. Ongoing or chronic pain can be caused by a malfunction in the pain sensory system. When a nerve is not functioning properly the signals to the target tissue, the muscles, become exaggerated and are perceived as pain. The most common cause of this is every day wear and tear and overuse.
If you suffer from chronic pain and have tried medications, massage, traditional physiotherapy, osteopathy, or chiropractic and still do not find lasting relief, your pain could be caused by muscle shortening. IMS treatment involves the use of single use, sterilized acupuncture needles to release injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened. These tight muscles can press on and irritate the nerve as well as create a persistent pull that strains the tendons as well as the joints around them. This can lead to conditions such as “tendonitis” and “osteoarthritis”.
IMS has been shown to reduce the need for pain medications and is an effective treatment for conditions such as:
- Tendonitis/tendonopathy such as tennis elbow or rotator cuff tendonitis
- Whiplash injuries
- Temporo-mandibular joint pain
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Piriformis syndrome
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sports injuries such as muscle strains
- Frozen shoulder
The number of treatments required will vary depending on the duration and extent of your condition, your health status, presence of scar tissue (such as from previous surgery), and healing ability of your body. A published study by Dr. Chan Gunn on low back pain found the average number of treatments required was 8.2. If your condition is acute (present for only days or weeks) you may only require one or two treatments. Most people experience results after the first treatment.
IMS treatments can only be provided by a qualified practitioner – a Physiotherapist or Physician – who has been specially trained and certified in IMS. There is a nationally recognized and evidence-based certification program that ensures that IMS assessment and treatment is performed to the highest standards.
For further information on IMS contact Back Works. You can also visit the University of British Columbia website (UBC Gunn IMS) to learn more about this technique.