Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a treatment for chronic pain that has a neuropathic (pathology in the nerve) origin. The signs and symptoms of neuropathic pain are listed below. With neuropathic pain there are often no signs of inflammation, and diagnostic imaging is usually normal because the problem itself lies within the nervous system.  IMS treatment relies on a thorough physical examination to identify the signs of neuropathy.

IMS involves the insertion of an acupuncture needle into muscles that have trigger points and bands as a result of the underlying neuropathy.  The insertion of the needle into the muscle causes a cramping sensation as the muscle is stimulated, producing three effects:

  1. The muscle spindle receptor is stimulated causing a reflex relaxation of the muscle.
  2. The needle causes a small soft tissue injury which results in a small amount of bleeding starting a mild inflammatory response and thus stimulates healing.
  3. The needle treatment creates an electrical potential in the muscle which makes the nerve function normally again.

For further information on IMS and its development please refer to the website at the link below:

Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain:

Excess tenderness on palpation in the affected muscles often with “trigger points”.

  1. Decreased temperature of the painful part.
  2. Excess perspiration may be seen or felt on the skin of the affected area.
  3. Goose bumps may be seen on the skin of the affected area.
  4. Localised hair loss may be observed.
  5. Brittle nails.
  6. Abnormal skin texture or colour.
  7. Tight muscles – often not relieved by stretching.