What is IMS?
IMS stands for intramuscular stimulation. This technique can eliminate chronic pain and muscle tightness. Nerves and muscles work together to help your body move normally. When nerves become irritated or damaged, the muscles they control can become weak and painful. This condition is known as neuromyofascial pain. IMS involves inserting tiny needles into the area of the muscle most affected by the nerve problem. While the procedure uses the same needles as traditional Chinese acupuncture, the technique is very different. The Chinese meridians are not treated and the decision of which muscles to treat is based on a medical diagnosis. An example of very fine IMS needles, much smaller than the needles commonly used for injection.
Nerves drive muscles. When the chemical relationship between the two is altered by problems in the nerve, muscle pain and weakness can result. The immediate benefit of IMS is due to the mechanical effect of the needle. This allows “knots” to be broken up and the muscle to start working properly. The longer term benefit comes from creating a tiny injury in the muscle. As the treated area heals, it releases repair factors that create a normal relationship between the muscle and the nerve.
IMS usually can’t be felt when the needle is inserted into a normal muscle attached to a normal nerve. However, when the needle hits an area in the muscle that is unwell, you will feel a cramping or tingling sensation. The technique takes just a few minutes to perform and usually the needles are taken out right away. In some cases, where the nerve problem is severe, the needles can be left in for between 5 and 30 minutes. You may feel immediate relief, or you may be sore for a few days where the needles were inserted. This should be followed by less pain, better movement, and a gradual return of function. The average number of visits to complete resolution of the problem range from 6-10. Treatments are usually once a week.
You should tell your IMS practitioner if you are on Coumadin or any other prescription blood thinner. In addition, if you are pregnant we recommend that you get clearance from your OB/GYN. Finally, if you have a blood clotting disorder, HIV, or Hepatitis, please alert your practitioner.
How successful is IMS? Our experience has shown that this technique is one of the most effective for the treatment of chronic pain. Even in severe cases, approximately 80-90% of patients get significant benefit.
“After three visits…I had almost my full range of motion back in my neck.”-Laura
“I am thankful every day for getting the strength and courage to agree to the IMS treatments…It’s been a few months now and I am feeling 80% better.”-Tony
“I had been seeing several alternative practitioners for about a year with only temporary results…(after IMS treatment) all of the chronic pain dissipated. I had 100% permanent pain relief.”-Roxanne
Read about other forms of non-surgical interventions here.