Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment for musculoskeletal pain syndromes caused by neuropathy. Neuropathy is described as a nerve that is not functioning properly but has normal structure.
The treatment, which utilizes acupuncture needles, specifically targets the muscles that have contracted and become shortened. These shortened muscles compress and irritate the nerves. Through needling, the super-sensitive areas can be desensitized and the persistent pull and compression of shortened muscles can be released.
IMS relies heavily on a thorough physical examination of the patient by a physiotherapist who is trained to recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. This physical examination is indispensable since chronic pain is often neurological as opposed to structural. It is therefore invisible to X-rays, MRI tests, Bone and CT scans.
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 super-sensitive. Needle penetration of a normal muscle is painless. In contrast a shortened, super-sensitive muscle will 'grasp' the needle in what can best be described as a cramping sensation.