Are you dealing with chronic pain? Whether you’re dealing with ongoing aches, pains, stiffness and tightness of your muscles in your neck, back, arms, or legs, IMS, or intramuscular stimulation, is an effective treatment. During an intramuscular stimulation treatment, we assess your specific anatomy and discuss particular points of discomfort to determine the optimal positioning of needles for treatment.
If you’re ready to get rid of your chronic pain, contact us today to book your appointment.
What is intramuscular stimulation (IMS)?
From the field of acupuncture grew Intramuscular (IMS) Therapy. IMS incorporates Western medicine’s view on the neurophysiology of pain. IMS takes thin needles, the same as those used in acupuncture, and inserts them into the muscles that are causing the pain and dysfunction. This dry needling technique calms the nerves that supply those muscle groups and in turn, the muscles relax and are not as irritable or sensitive — ultimately relieving your pain.
What conditions can intramuscular stimulation (IMS) treat?
IMS is an incredibly effective treatment used to relieve all sorts of issues including chronic pain, which may be difficult to diagnose. Our patients may have had x-rays, CT scans, or other tests performed with no sign of a problem. They often find that our IMS treatment is the only thing that provides pain relief.
Those patients who suffer from the following conditions can greatly benefit from intramuscular stimulation:
- Headaches or migraines
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Tendonitis, bursitis, or plantar fasciitis
- Tennis elbow
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) vs Acupuncture
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. However, both treatments focus on removing the source of pain by re-stimulating the muscles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do IMS treatments hurt?
Regarding IMS treatments “hurting,” it’s important to clarify that the discomfort felt is not from the needles themselves, but from the muscle’s response to the needles. The discomfort is from the muscle tension caused by the presence of the needle in the muscle. The muscle tension experienced can be very mild to the point where it is barely noticeable, but it can also be quite significant where it can feel like a charlie-horse. However, not every needle will be uncomfortable. Most commonly the amount of discomfort felt is usually no more than the same sensation as getting a deep tissue massage.
Are there any side effects of IMS treatments?
The common side effect of IMS treatments is the feeling of tightness and stiffness after the session. This can sometimes be immediately after the treatment or it can be felt later that day or the next day. In most cases, the stiffness doesn’t last longer than a couple of days. The stiffness felt the next day(s) is similar to that of post-workout stiffness.
Less common can be feelings of nausea or light-headedness immediately after the sessions which last for usually only minutes at most.
How many IMS treatments will I need before my pain goes away?
Usually we recommend 3-4 IMS sessions before you should feel a noticeable difference. However, on average, it usually takes about 7-8 IMS sessions.
It is always difficult to use a blanket statement on how many IMS treatments are needed as there are so many different conditions and injuries that can benefit from IMS, Some conditions are acute and some are chronic and each individual body heals at their own pace.
Is IMS covered by most health insurance plans?
IMS is considered to be a part of Physiotherapy, so if your plan covers physiotherapy, then it should also cover IMS. Visit our therapy fees page for more information about the cost of our physiotherapy services.
How do I know if IMS is right for me?
IMS can be used on anyone for pretty much any condition, it will just work better for certain conditions than others. You won’t really know if IMS is right for you until a physiotherapist assesses you to determine if you’re an ideal candidate. However, IMS is usually best for people that have “Neuropathic Pain,” and that can only be determined by an IMS practitioner.
Generally, IMS works well with people who have chronic pain, whiplash, chronic muscle tension, tendonitis or tendinopathies, sciatica or pinched nerves, and muscle strains that aren’t healing in a timely manner.
Please note: People with blood clotting disorders or anyone on blood thinners should get permission from their doctors first.
Wondering if IMS is right for your painful condition or injury?
Contact us today and our team will be happy to help!