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Intramuscular Stimulation

What is Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?IMS - Intramuscular Stimulation - Action Sports Clinic

IMS is an affective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin – involvement of the spine. IMS has few side effects and the technique is also unequaled for finding and diagnosing 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 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 this sensation. They call it a “good” or positive pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relief and relaxation. What happens 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.

Treating Neuropathic Pain
The goal of treatment is to release muscle shortening which presses on and irritates the nerve. Nerves and nerve-endings become extremely sensitive and cause innocent harmless signals to be exaggerated and misperceived as painful ones. This
characteristic is known medically as super sensitivity. The result is pain, even when extensive medical tests show there is nothing wrong.

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 spread out over two weeks) to allow time between treatments for the body to heal itself. The number of treatments you require will depend on several factors such as the duration and extent of your condition, how much scar tissue there is and how quickly your body can heal. If the pain is of recent origin, one treatment may be all that is necessary. In published studies of patients with low back pain, the average number of IMS treatments required is 8.2.

The Shortened Muscle Syndrome
An Important factor in neuropathic pain is muscle spasm and contracture. Muscle shortening produces pain by pulling on tendons, straining them as well as distressing the joints they move. Muscle shortening also increases wear and tear and contributes to degenerative changes such as “tendonitis” and “osteoarthritis”. These conditions are customarily regarded as “local” conditions and may not receive the appropriate diagnosis or treatment.

Involvement of the Spine
The most common cause of nerve irritation and neuropathic pain is “spondylosis” degeneration in the spine, which can be the result of normal wear and tear. Spondylosis irritates the nerve root and leads to neuropathy and muscle shortening.

How IMS Compares to Acupuncture

Traditional Acupuncture
-Medical Examination not applicable
-Medical Diagnosis not relevant
-Needle insertions according to Chinese philosophy into non-scientific meridians
-Knowledge of anatomy not applicable
-No immediate objective changes anticipated

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