Gunn IMS

In order to understand how Gunn IMS can help you, we must first understand Neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain occurs when a nerve is unhealthy. In the human body, our wiring is made up of nerves. Nerves are very sensitive and require adequate nutrition, which is supplied by small arteries that surround the nerves, to function properly. Any low-level nerve compression, which can occur with disc herniation, bone spurring in your spine, or even with muscle tension following an athletic injury, can compress the small arteries and reduce the blood flow to the nerve, causing the nerve to become malnourished. Within about a week of being malnourished, a nerve starts to become angry. We call angry nerves ‘neuropathic’.

When a nerve becomes angry, or neuropathic, it changes the physiology of the muscles it serves so they are unable to fully relax.  This leads to a low level of muscle spasm in all the muscles supplied by that nerve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The inability of the muscles to relax prevents full recovery from injury and ongoing stiffness causes reduced mobility. Over the long term, chronic muscle tension can lead to degenerative changes in joints, further disc injury, and overuse muscle tendinosis. Supersensitivity and muscle shortening cannot be operated on and ‘cut away,’ while ‘painkillers’ and other analgesic pills only mask the pain (often poorly), sometimes compounding the problem.  Neuropathy only responds to a physical input of energy.

Intramuscular Stimulation (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 sign of injury or inflammation). IMS is grounded in Western Medical Science, and has a solid foundation in its radiculopathic model of pain, which is now supported by many experts in the field. The treatment, which utilizes acupuncture needles because they are the thinnest implements available and are designed to penetrate deep within muscle tissue, specifically targets injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress.

IMS relies heavily on a thorough physical examination of the patient by a competent practitioner, trained to recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. This physical examination is indispensable since chronic pain is often neurological as opposed to structural, and therefore, invisible to expensive X-rays, MRI Tests, Bone and CT Scans. Failure to recognize these signs will result in an inaccurate diagnosis, and thus, a poor starting point for physical therapy.

The treatment involves dry needling of affected areas of the body without injecting any substance.  The needle sites can be at the epicenter of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless; however, a shortened, supersensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation. The result is threefold. One, a stretch receptor in the muscle is stimulated, producing a reflex relaxation (lengthening). Two, the needle also causes a small injury that draws blood to the area, initiating the natural healing process. Three, the treatment creates an electrical potential in the muscle to make the nerve function normally again. The needle used in IMS, by stimulating muscle spindles, essentially becomes a specific and unique tool for the diagnosis of Neuropathic Muscle Pain.
The goal of treatment is to release muscle shortening, which presses on and irritates the nerve.  Supersensitive areas can be desensitized, and the persistent pull of shortened muscles can be released.  IMS is very effective for releasing shortened muscles under contracture, thereby causing mechanical pain from muscle pull.  IMS, in effect, treats the underlying neuropathic condition that causes the pain.


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To start your Gunn IMS treatment, book an initial physiotherapy assessment with Karen Chow.

Address: 1 - 19126 Ford Rd, Pitt Meadows, BC