intramuscular stimulation (IMS)

WHAT IS ims?

Intrasmuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes (chronic pain conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system when there is no obvious sign of injury or inflammation). IMS is grounded in Western Medical Science, and has a solid foundation in its radiculopathic model of pain, which is now supported by many experts in the field.

The treatment involves dry needling of affected areas of the body without injecting any substance. The needle sites can be at the epicenter of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless; however, a shortened, supersensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation. The result is threefold.

What conditions can IMS help?

  • Tendonitis/tendonopathy such as Achilles tendonitis/tennis elbow/rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Spinal pain including neck and back pain resulting from degenerative disc disease
  • Plantar heel pain including plantar fasciitis
  • Jaw and face pain
  • Whiplash

What is neuropathic pain?

Pain not resulting from a direct or one-time injury can be more difficult to treat. This category of pain involves “neuropathic” pain and includes repetitive strain injuries such as tennis elbow, ITB friction syndrome, rotator cuff tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and spinal pain including whiplash as usually neurological structures are implicated.

Neuropathic pain involves muscle shortening and spasm where the suppleness of normal muscle tissue is replaced by rigid, fibrosed muscle fibres, glued together by excess collagen and scar tissue. Interference of the nervous system produces these changes including the development of painful “knots” or trigger points within muscle.

Muscle shortening has also been implicated as a contributing factor to arthritis pain, as tightened bands can restrict normal joint movement leading to increased stresses and internal compression, contributing to degeneration and the arthritic process.

Why do pain medications not always help neuropathic pain?

Pain medications are often ineffective for neuropathic pain conditions/chronic pain because they don’t treat the cause. IMS is an effective method to reverse neurologically mediated changes in muscle including trigger points and taut bands.

“Muscle shortening cannot be operated on and ‘cut away,’ while ‘painkillers’ and other analgesic pills only mask the pain (often poorly) and promote toxicity, compounding the problem.

Our clinical director, Alicia Hagedorn, has undergone advanced training in Intramuscular Stimulation.  Email or call 416-423-1862 to find out more.