Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

What’s IMS?

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is an anatomy specific form of dry-needling performed by specially trained physiotherapists and doctors. It is grounded in Western Medicine’s understanding of neurophysiology and pain and is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even injury prevention. It differs from acupuncture in that an acupuncturist will typically select points that are located along meridians based on surface anatomy. The points used for IMS are typically selected based on muscle tension or trigger points.

How IMS helps?

IMS is very effective in treating:

●      lower back pain,

●      hip pain,

●      neck pain and whiplash,

●      headaches,

●      shoulder injuries,

●      TMJ issues,

●      sprained ankles,

●      IT band syndrome,

●      patellofemoral pain,

●      plantar fasciitis,

●      Achilles tendonitis,

●      shin splints

●      …and many others.

Positive results are typically apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms and overall health of the patient.

How IMS does work?

When the needle is inserted into a muscle that is sensitive and shortened it activates a spinal reflex which causes that muscle to release. Additionally, micro-injury to the area causes an increase in local circulation along with activation of the body’s natural healing systems.

Is IMS painful?

Most patients won’t even feel the needle insertion, but once it advances into the muscle the sensation will vary from person to person. A healthy muscle typically feels very little discomfort; however, if a muscle is sensitive and shortened, or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp.  This is often referred to as a ‘twitch response’. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle.

MSK Health and Performance has a team of IMS practitioners in the Burnaby clinic.

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