Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
What Is Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?
Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation, or IMS for short, is a technique 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 neuropathic in nature. This usually manifests as chronic tightness and stiffness such as in long-term back and neck pain.
IMS involves the use of very thin needles which are inserted into the tight 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, which ultimately resolves your pain.
Will It Hurt?
As is the case with many physiotherapy treatments, you might ache after you have had IMS done. This is especially the case the first time you have it, but it usually gets easier each time after that. Many people describe the sensation of IMS as ‘like a mini cramp’ which only lasts for a second until the muscle releases. In some cases the pain from a needle can be quite high, although it is still temporary. The quick relief that IMS can bring usually outweighs any discomfort you get from having the treatment done.
How Effective Is It?
In Nalin’s experience, a patient will see noticeable results within 4 treatments. Patients typically report longer lasting and better results with IMS than with other treatments for chronic muscle tightness and pain. It is not uncommon for a patient to see a 20-50% reduction of pain after only one visit. In addition to the reduction of pain, many patients report better joint mobility. When it works, it works well. Periodic maintenance may be required for some conditions.
Is IMS Right For Me?
To determine if Gunn IMS is right for you, Nalin will take a comprehensive history of your condition, identifying aggravating and relieving factors, and perform a thorough physical exam. If based on your assessment he feels that you could benefit from IMS it will be recommended as a treatment option. In many cases he will recommend therapeutic exercises that increase the longevity of the gains made.
If it is determined IMS is not the best fit, he may recommend manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, Massage Therapy, or Chiropractic Care.
If you are interested in having an assessment with Nalin to find out if Gunn IMS could help you, please contact our Clinic at (780) 640-9488.