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Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)


Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

Do you have aches and pains that do not seem to go away? Has an X-ray, CT Scan or MRI showed no visible sign of injury but your pain persists anyways? Have you been suffering with chronic neck, back, shoulder, arm or leg pain? If you answered YES, to any of the above questions, IMS may be for you!

Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation, or IMS, is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes (chronic pain conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system when there is no obvious injury or inflammation). IMS explains a large category of pain in a new way. Instead of presuming pain to be signals of tissue injury, IMS blames pain on “unwell” nerves.  IMS has introduced an examination technique that shows neuropathy to occur, almost invariably, at the nerve root.  IMS’s radiculopathy model explains many apparently different and unrelated pain syndromes from headaches to low back pain, from tennis elbow to trigeminal neuralgia.

Jade and her team are wonderful. I came in with chronic back tightness/pain and after a few short months am feeling so much better. I’d been getting massages for 2 years with limited success. The IMS treatment and provided exercises have been the perfect solution for what ailed me. Also, the atmosphere is super upbeat & fun. Always look forward to a visit.


How does Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) work?

IMS works by desensitizing nerves and muscles using acupuncture needles. The goal of an IMS treatment is to restore the flow of impulses in a peripheral nerve, restore muscle function and relieve pain. With IMS, the needle elicits a reflex causing the muscle to “jump” or release (this is normally where patients say “ouch” or use other adjectives). Insertion of the needles also stimulates healing to the affected muscles by stimulating the body to increase location circulation and activate its healing systems.

What conditions can IMS resolve?

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tennis and golfers elbow
  • Whiplash
  • Headaches
  • TMJ
  • Rotator cuff syndrome
  • Tendonitis and bursitis
  • Low back pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Recurrent or persistent injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal disc problems or degenerative disc disease
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritic conditions

Who is a good candidate for IMS?

Good candidates for IMS answer YES to one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Do you have continuous deep, dull aching pain?
  • Do you have tender spots in your muscles?
  • Do you have restricted range of motion in your muscles?
  • Do you have pain that has persisted for greater than 8 weeks?
  • Do your extremities, especially your hands or feet, feel colder?

IMS treatment relies heavily on a thorough physical examination by a trained practitioner at our downtown Edmonton clinic to recognize if any of your symptoms are consistent with neuropathic pain.  The physical exam and medical history are fundamental to the approach as X-rays, MRI tests and CT scans often fail to recognize these signs.

How many IMS treatments do I need?

If you are a good candidate, IMS sessions are usually scheduled once per week to allow the body time to heal between sessions. The number of sessions you require will depend on numerous factors such as:

  • The length of time the injury has been present
  • Age and general health
  • The severity of your injury
  • How much scar tissue is present
  • How your body responds to the treatment

A low back pain study found that the average number of IMS treatments required was 8.2.  However, in some cases, one or two treatments may be adequate, especially if the pain was of recent onset.

For more information, visit the UBC Gunn IMS website.

How we can help

If you have one of the conditions mentioned above and are looking for a solution that provides longer lasting results, contact our Edmonton (downtown) clinic at 587-401-2371 to schedule an appointment. Our physiotherapists will help you determine if this is a treatment solution that’s right for you. We look forward to helping you find the treatment you need to get well and live well!

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