Chronic pain is debilitating and can cause other serious health concerns which can drastically decrease a person’s quality of life. Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to pinpoint the cause of the physical pain. Neuropathic pain refers to chronic pain symptoms that have no identifiable source such as injury or inflammation. Neuropathic pain happens when nerves become overly sensitive as a response to irritation. Sometimes a minor irritation can cause harmless signals to the brain to be misinterpreted as painful sensations. Over-sensitized nerves can cause muscle spasms and contractures, which can eventually lead to muscles becoming shortened and very tender. People who have neuropathic pain show up healthy on medical tests because no source of a physical issue is present.

Intramuscular stimulation, also known as IMS physical therapy is a treatment for neuropathic pain that is highly effective. IMS physical therapy is based on scientific neurophysiological principles that are adapted from traditional acupuncture. In IMS physical therapy, extremely fine needles are inserted where muscles are shortened or contracted therefore stimulating them to allow relaxation and healing.

During an IMS physical therapy session, a trained physiotherapist will insert acupuncture needles into tight and shortened bands of muscles otherwise known as trigger points. When muscles become tight due to chorionic main or injury, they can develop trigger points causing them to stiffen and become painful. Once the trigger points are located, a physiotherapist then inserts an acupuncture needle into the trigger point. The patient will feel a deep twitching sensation as the physiotherapist moves the needle up and down through the tightened band of muscle. The needles are removed once the trigger point has been stimulated. This reduces the pain caused by the tightened muscles forcing them to relax.

The depth of the acupuncture needles depends on the trigger point. Some muscles on the head like the jaw or base of the skull are very close to the surface of the skin. The needle depth in these cases is quite superficial and can roughly go one to two centimetres deep. For deeper muscles and trigger points such as in the hip or the calf, the needle may go as far as 5-20 centimetres below the skin. Acupuncture needles are not like traditional medicine-associated needles such as hypodermic needles. Hypodermic needles are hollow and are primarily used for injections or drawing blood. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin stainless-steel needles with a very fine point.

The majority of patients will feel either twitches or twinges in the muscles but no pain. There is seldom blood from IMS physical therapy. While some patients feel relief and improvements right away, for others it can sometimes take three to four sessions to notice prolonged physical relief from the pain symptoms. Many patients see improvement in mobility and the level of pain after their first IMS physical therapy session. On average, around eight to ten sessions of IMS physical therapy are needed for the treatment to be effective in the long term.

IMS physical therapy has been used to treat neuropathic pain conditions across many areas of the body including neck pain, back pain, headaches, tennis elbow, frozen shoulders, whiplash, and fibromyalgia. Neuropathic pain is chronic pain, which can drastically impact your life causing much physical and emotional damage. IMS physical therapy is safe and done in a sterile, clean clinic. Only trained physical therapists should perform IMS physical therapy. Only seek physical therapy treatment from reputable clinics and physical therapists.