Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), sometimes referred to as dry needling, is an ideal treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin. Neuropathic pain occurs when nerves malfunction after an accident such as whiplash from a car accident, a back injury or repetitive strain in your elbow
Can IMS Or Dry Needling Help Me?
IMS works best when you have pain that is neuropathic instead of pain that is from a structural problem. So how do you know what kind of pain you have and what is causing it? It can be difficult to know on your own whether dry needling treatment will help you
What To Expect On Your First IMS Visit
Physiotherapy and IMS treatment uses needles to penetrate deep within your muscle tissue. The needles are used to specifically target your injured muscles that have contracted and shortened because of an unhealthy nervous system.
The needle sites can be in your arms or legs in the middle of a tight and tender muscle band. They can also be found in the muscles along your spine.
Usually, when the needle is inserted into a normal muscle there is no pain. However, if you have a shortened, tight muscle that has become extra sensitive, the muscle can sometimes “grab” onto the needle. When this happens, you might notice a cramping sensation in the muscle.
What Is The Difference Between IMS And Acupuncture?
On the surface, both IMS or dry needling and acupuncture seem the same. They both involve using needles in the treatment of patients with often chronic pain, meaning pain lasting for longer than 3 months.
The difference lays in the philosophy behind each technique. Acupuncture has roots in Eastern or oriental medicine. In a typical acupuncture session, needles would be inserted into your skin. They are then left there for a few minutes, for example 15 to 20 minutes. The theory is that acupuncture works with your body’s life force or meridians. The goal is to ensure your life energy is flowing through these meridians and any stoppages are unblocked with acupuncture. Another goal is to keep balance between your various meridians.
IMS or dry needling
IMS is a technique based on Western medicine. Needles are inserted directly into your muscles. With dry needling or IMS, the needles are usually left in place for a shorter time than acupuncture. The goal of IMS is to reduce muscle tension and desensitize nerves.
Many physiotherapists use IMS or dry needling in treating patients. IMS is considered part of your physiotherapy treatment
IMS Needle Insertion, The “Grab”
How Does IMS Physiotherapy Help Me
The purpose of IMS treatment is to relax muscle tension and release a muscle that has become shortened. When your muscle shortens, this leads to pressure and irritation on your nerve.
Muscles that were previously over sensitized can now be desensitized. Once this happens, it will help you stop your muscle from shortening. IMS is a useful tool to release muscles that have shortened and are under contracture. This can lead to the pain that you were feeling before.
This is how IMS addresses the underlying neuropathic aspect of your pain. It is an effective way to reduce your pain and correct any dysfunction you are having. Some conditions which have been treated include:
- Ankle pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Disc injury
- Frozen shoulder
- Golfer’s elbow
- Hip injuries
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Sports injury
- Tennis elbow
- TMJ pain
- Other chronic or recurrent pains
Frequently Asked Questions About IMS And Dry Needling
If your injuries are the result of being involved in either a motor vehicle collision or a workplace related incident, then your physiotherapy sessions with IMS may be covered by ICBC or WorkSafeBC
Some patients receiving IMS treatment report feeling noticeable improvements after their first session. More commonly, you may need 3-4 visits with dry needling to start to feel some relief of your symptoms.
Get Started With IMS Treatment In Burnaby
Cedar Chiropractic & Physiotherapy is your source for IMS physiotherapy in Burnaby. If you are looking for IMS or dry needling treatment, your team is ready to develop a treatment plan for you to get you the care you need