Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin. IMS was developed by DR. Chan Gunn in the 70’s. IMS is effective and has few side effects, the technique is also unequaled for finding and diagnosing muscle shorting 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 than 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 needle. Patients soon learn to recognize and welcome the sensation. They call it a ‘Good’ or positive pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relief and relaxation.
The needle may still be in you, but because the muscle is no longer tight, you no longer feel it. What happened is that the needling has caused your abnormal muscle shortening to intensify and then release. It is important that you experience this sensation in order to gain lasting relief.
The effects of IMS
The effects of IMS are cumulative- needling stimulates a certain amount of healing, until eventually the condition is healed, and the pain disappears. Some patients treated with IMS have remained pain- free for over 20 years.
Frequency of Treatments
Treatments are usually once a week (but can be spread out to two weeks) to allow time between treatments for the body to heal itself. The number of treatments you require will depend on serval factors such as the duration and extent of your condition, how much scar tissue there is (usually increased after previous surgery) and how quickly your body can heal, the rate of healing depends on the condition of your nerves (young people usually heal more quickly, although older is not necessarily slower). If the pain is of recent origin, one treatment may be all that is necessary.