Gunn IMS Treatment & Intramuscular Stimulation

Intramuscular Stimulation, also known as Gunn IMS, is a system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes. Myofascial pain syndromes are persistent pain conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system where there is no obvious sign of injury and inflammation.

Gunn IMS is a specialized physiotherapy service that HealthX provides to our patients. Gunn IMS practitioners have extensive physiotherapy experience before they are admitted to training to ensure a high standard of care and safety. Gunn IMS is the gold standard for physiotherapists practicing Intramuscular Stimulation so you can feel confident in quality of care with Healthx physiotherapists.

To book intramuscular stimulation services with HealthX, contact us here or call us at (604) 332-4487 to make an appointment.

How does Intramuscular Stimulation Work?

IMS is grounded in Western Medical Science, and uses acupuncture needles that are designed to penetrate deep within muscle tissue, specifically targeting injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress.

Intramuscular stimulation uses acupuncture needles that are designed to penetrate deep within muscle tissue, specifically targeting muscles that have contracted and become shortened over time.

IMS therapy begins with a thorough physical examination by a practitioner who is trained to recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. This type of persistent pain must be diagnosed by someone with relevant experience, as this kind of pain cannot be diagnosed with MRIs, X-Rays or other medical imaging.

Treatment involves dry needling of affected areas without injecting any substances; needles will be inserted in taut and tender muscle bands, or near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and super sensitive. The muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle in what can be described as a cramp-like sensation. This helps to:

  • Stimulate the ‘stretch receptor’ in the muscle which generates a spinal reflex to lengthen the muscle.
  • Initiate a natural healing process when blood is drawn to the area; and
  • Create an electrical potential in the muscle to make the nerve function normally again.

What is the Goal in the IMS Treatment Process?

The goal of intramuscular stimulation is to release muscle shortening, which presses on sensitive soft tissue structures and irritates the nerve. This can desensitize super sensitive areas and relieve the persistent pull of shortened muscles. Gunn IMS treats the underlying neuropathic condition that causes the pain. The muscle-nerve connection is re-established through action potentials leading to improved muscle balance and length.

When performed by a competent practitioner, intramuscular stimulation has a remarkable success rate, as proven by elimination of symptoms and signs.

How Often Should I Have IMS Treatment?

Gunn IMS treatments are usually once a week to allow time between treatments for the muscles to recover and allow the natural healing process to occur. The number of treatments depends on several factors, including:

  • The duration and extent of your condition.
  • How quickly your body can heal.
  • The condition of your nervous system.
  • How much scar tissue and shortening is present.

If your pain is new, one or two IMS treatment may be all that is necessary; in medical studies, it is found that the average number of treatments to help patients with lower back pain is 8.2.

What’s the Difference Between Gunn IMS and Acupuncture?

Gunn IMS is similar to acupuncture in that it uses needling to achieve pain relief and healing. However, the primary differences are:

  • IMS requires a medical examination and diagnosis by an experienced practitioner.
  • Needle insertion is indicated by anatomy and physiology and not according to non-scientific meridians; and
  • Subjective and objective effects are usually experienced immediately.

If you are interested in learning more about acupuncture services at HealthX Physiotherapy, click here.

Book an Intramuscular Stimulation Appointment

If you’re interested in learning more about Gunn IMS, or are looking for a practitioner who can help to administer this service, call HealthX at (604) 332-4487 or contact us here to book an appointment.


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