Intra-muscular Stimulation (IMS) and Dry Needling

Intra-muscular StimulationIMS and dry needling evolved from traditional Chinese acupuncture. IMS is based on the premise that for many people, regardless of the initiating incident, muscular tightness is the source of their pain. Shortness in the muscles of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine can cause tightness and pain elsewhere. For example, tightness in the low back muscles can lead to tightness in the hamstring and calf muscles. In a runner or walker, this can lead to heel pain and Achilles tendinosis. Scientific research supports the use of IMS in people with pain due to muscle shortening, such as low back pain.

IMS is often effective for new injuries such as a tight or pulled hamstring or “tennis elbow”. It can help with long standing problems such as bulging discs or herniated spinal discs. In this case, by relaxing the muscles around the disc level of concern, the compressive pressure on the disc can be reduced, allowing the person to move more freely.

Before and After IMS

The photos above are “before IMS” and “immediately after IMS”. The patient is resting her right ankle on her left thigh in a relaxed position. In the “before” photo, this is as low as her tight hip muscles would let her leg go. Afterwards, her pain was reduced and her hip can easily be seen to be more relaxed and at ease. The hip was still more relaxed when we saw her again two weeks later.


IMS Before and After

This patient has pain from her back that is causing the muscles to spasm and cause a rotational posture. The Before and After photo were taken 20 minutes apart.


At Pure Form, the improvement in symptoms and mobility that IMS affords is used as an opportunity to educate and then facilitate improved movement strategies. In doing so, our goal is to prevent future episodes of pain and dysfunction.

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