These days at our St. Albert clinic, there are two frequently heard but little understood techniques growing in popularity for the treatment of chronic pain and myofascial pain: Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) and Acupuncture. Although both originate from the field of Chinese Medicine and produce similar results, their approaches to mapping the body for treatment and pain management vary.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese belief that the body functions off the flow of energy (Chi) across 14 superhighways (also known as meridians). What you feel as pain in your body is the manifestation of a massive traffic jam in one of these pathways. It stops the flow of energy, interrupting the ability of the body to heal and function well. When one of our Physiotherapists at Summit inserts a needle into a point of energy blockage, they are clearing the road so that traffic (Chi energy) can flow again. In the moment of insertion, the needle awakens the nerve. It reminds the nerve of its job as a transmitter of energy, which reduces pain and promotes healing. With acupuncture, the tiny needles may stay in place for 20-30 minutes. Patients leave feeling more relaxed, and comment on greater mental clarity and increased energy levels.
What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?
From the field of acupuncture grew IMS Therapy. It incorporates Western medicine’s view on the neurophysiology of pain. During an IMS treatment, we assess your specific anatomy and discuss particular points of discomfort to determine the optimal positioning of needles for treatment. Both acupuncture and IMS focus on the insertion of needles to nerve pathways. IMS treats specific spots on the body at their source as a means to untangle knots so muscles can resume proper functioning. Needles are inserted, and then removed after 5-15 minutes, sometimes after a slight movement to stimulate the muscle. For specific sources of pain, such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel, IMS can be helpful. Both treatments focus on removing the source of pain by re-stimulating the muscles.
How to get started:
The treatments are usually recommended on a weekly basis, to ensure ample time for recovery and restoration of muscles between appointments. Acupuncture and IMS can treat sports injuries, migraines and even depression!
Book your appointment with a Summit specialist today. Or talk to us about including one of these treatments in your established healing strategy during your next visit!