Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment for chronic pain. This technique uses needles similar to the needles used in acupuncture to find and diagnose muscle shortening in deep muscles.
Although IMS uses implements adapted from traditional acupuncture, it is based on scientific, neurophysiological principles. The acupuncture needles used are very thin (much thinner that the hollow needle used to inject medicine or take blood samples). You may not even feel it penetrating the skin, and if your muscle is normal, the needle is painless. However, if your muscle is supersensitive and shortened, you’ll feel a peculiar sensation – like a muscle cramp or Charlie Horse. This is a distinctive type of discomfort caused by the muscle grasping the needles. Patients soon learn to recognize and welcome this sensation. They call it a “good” (or positive) pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relief – no longer tight muscles, you no longer feel the needle. What has happened is that the needling has caused your abnormal muscle shortening to intensity and then release. It is important that you experience this sensation in order to gain lasting relief.
Our physiotherapists are trained to use this method and may recommend it to patients with deep muscle stress. Ask your physiotherapist for more information.