Niall McGregor, Physio at The Physiotherapy Place, has been trained in the treatment technique of IMS to a very high standard while living in Canada (where IMS is widely used by physiotherapists). He is the only person in Scotland that uses the treatment and now has people travelling from afar to have their chronic pain treated. Often his patients have been living with pain for months, if not years, and have tried everything. IMS is yielding amazing results.
Intramuscular Stimulation, or IMS for short, is a technique used by physiotherapists since it was developed in the 1970’s in Vancouver by the pain specialist Dr. Chan Gunn. IMS is used for the assessment and treatment of chronic pain that is related to muscles and nerves such as long-term back and neck pain.
Nerve dysfunction, or neuropathy, refers to when a nerve is not functioning properly once it has exited the spinal cord. Often this occurs without any structural damage to the nerve meaning that x-rays and scans may look normal. Some indicators of neuropathy are if you have pain but there is no tissue damage, if you have a delayed onset of pain after an injury (e.g. in whiplash), and pain that gets worse after doing more activity. There are other physical signs present when there is a neuropathy. These signs will be picked up during the assessment and will indicate whether that person is a candidate for IMS treatment.
When a nerve exits the spinal cord, it connects to several muscles and acts as the electrical wire that causes those muscles to contract and relax. When the nerve is not functioning properly, one of the main results is that the muscles that it supplies become tight and shortened and unable to fully relax. This is often the case if you feel that you have had chronic tightness in your shoulder or hip. The tightened muscle in itself can cause pain and hypersensitivity of the muscle so even light touch to that area can feel very tender. The shortened muscle will also create more stress on the adjoining tendons and joints which can create problems in these structures such as tendinitis or arthritis. Some other conditions in which an underlying neuropathy is commonly a factor are whiplash, chronic low back or neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and chronic hip/groin pain.
IMS involves the use of very thin needles which are inserted into the muscles that have been affected by neuropathy. This creates a ‘grasp’ or cramp sensation which results in the muscle releasing, taking the tension off the muscle and surrounding structures. In this way, hypersensitive muscles can be desensitised and the persistent pull of short muscles can be released.
When performed well, IMS has a remarkable success rate, reducing symptoms in long term chronic conditions that may have been present for months or even years, giving long lasting and often permanent results.
“I’ve suffered with sore shoulders and tension headaches for years and have spent a small fortune trying to make it better but nothing really ever worked for long. Niall suggested that I try IMS and after a few sessions the pain has gone. I can’t recommend Niall highly enough.” Sally A, Edinburgh