WHAT IS INTRAMUSCULAR STIMULATION (IMS)?
Intramuscular Stimulation is a needling technique based on scientific principles of anatomy and physiology to treat pain of a neuropathic origin (neuropathy).
IMS uses a sterile, disposable filament needle to cause a physiological change in shortened muscle tissue at both the spine and peripherally that can cause pain and movement dysfunction.
Oftentimes, degenerative changes in the spine (spondylosis) can cause irritation of sensitive nerve roots. As a result, muscles supplied by these irritated nerves become tight and painful (neuropathic pain). This can cause movement dysfunction and pre-mature wear and tear on bones and joints, including osteoarthritis and tendonitis despite no “overt” signs of trauma. With neuropathic pain, imaging studies (X-ray, MRI) are routinely normal, and conventional interventions (rest, medications) often fail.
With IMS, the needle is inserted into both the muscles along the spine that can compress sensitive nerve “the culprit”, and those muscles supplied by the irritated spinal nerves “the victim”. Clients often note a “cramping” sensation when a tight muscle grasps onto the needle. This results in a lengthening of irritated/tight muscles and decreased muscle spasm. This takes pressure off of sensitive nerves, bones, and joints. The result is a healing response, and a normalization of function.
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR IMS or DRY NEEDLING?
The majority of individuals are candidates for IMS. The dysfunction and impairment caused by neuropathy can affect individuals of all ages. Your therapists will discuss your symptoms with you and perform a detailed physical assessment to determine if your dysfunction may be attributable to neuropathy. He or she will then explain your condition and discuss how IMS can help.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET BETTER?
The effects of IMS are cumulative. However, clients often notice a difference after just one session. Clients are typically seen 2-3x/week for care. With each session, IMS causes a healing response in the body until the pain and dysfunction disappear. In combination with therapeutic exercise, many clients are pain free following their IMS treatment program.
WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL DRY NEEDLING?
Functional Dry Needling is a general term for therapeutic procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body that produces pain and typically contains a “Trigger Point”, or shortened muscle.
Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has and is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary from patient to patient. Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the client may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp – which is often referred to as a “twitch response”.
Typically, positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, as well as the overall health of the patient.
CAN I CONTINUE TO BE ACTIVE WHILE UNDERGOING MY TREATMENT?
Yes! You can continue to be active while undergoing either IMS or Functional Dry Needling. Your therapist at REP Physio will work with you to design an activity or exercise program that meets the needs of your busy lifestyle.