Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a total system for both the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain. IMS relies heavily on a very thorough patient physical examination by a trained practitioner who can recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. This physical exam is crucial since chronic pain is often neurological (as opposed to structural) and is not visible on any sources of imaging.
The IMS treatment uses acupuncture needles because they are able to penetrate deep within muscle tissue. The acupuncture needles specifically target injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress. The needle sites can be at the centre of muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and hypersensitive. Acupuncture on a normal muscle is painless, but a shortened, hypersensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle and this may cause a cramping sensation.
The goal of IMS treatment is to release muscle shortening. Supersensitive areas can be desensitized, and the persistent pull of shortened muscles can be released. IMS is very effective for releasing shortened muscles. When competently performed, IMS has a remarkable success rate.