𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘗𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘮𝘢𝘯, 𝘉𝘚𝘤, 𝘔𝘚𝘤𝘗𝘛, 𝘊𝘈𝘍𝘊𝘐, 𝘈𝘕-𝘐𝘔𝘚
As physiotherapists, we treat many causes of pain and dysfunction. Some are fairly straight forward, such as recovery from the physical damage of muscle tears or knee replacement surgery. In these cases, education, exercises and manual therapy form the foundation of treatment. But when nerves are involved, treatment is more complicated.
If you’ve ever had nerve tingling, numbness or pain down your arm or leg, you know how powerful nerves are. Irritated nerves can cause intense pain. A dysfunctional nerve can make the muscles it is connected to contract into tight bands, affect the strength of the muscle or even affect the muscle’s ability to turn on at all to perform a functional, daily task. This causes the body to compensate with other muscles which can make the problem worse. Sometimes what we think is a muscle problem is actually a nerve problem.
Education, exercise, manual therapy, and judicious use of ice can gradually improve a nerve problem. But there is another way to get right to the root of the problem and treat the nerve itself.
We can use intramuscular stimulation (IMS). IMS is a technique derived from acupuncture that uses very fine acupuncture needles to target nerves. You may have heard of Gunn IMS which is a method that primarily targets the affected spinal nerve root. Recently, we were fortunate enough to host a training program that expands on the Gunn IMS technique by using IMS to target not only the spinal nerve root, but also when indicated the entire nerve path to a muscle. It’s a whole body approach developed from current research and clinical IMS practices. Practitioners from throughout northwest BC attended this Foundations Health Education course, Anatomical Neuropathic Intramuscular Stimulation (AN-IMS).
How will I use AN-IMS in my treatment?
By targeting the dysfunctional nerve, AN-IMS can directly influence the nerve’s function. It can reduce nerve pain, relax nerve-tight muscles and help normalize the nerve. For example, I’d use AN-IMS to treat nerve issues such as a sore elbow or numbness in the hands caused by too much time at the computer, pain down the leg that increases with sitting or bending, or more commonly, a chronically tight muscle that won’t release or stay released with massage. Another benefit of AN-IMS is that because it is such a direct treatment, benefits can be seen quickly. It’s a great tool to get you moving again if your immobility or pain is caused by a nerve problem.
All of the physiotherapists at Transitions Physiotherapy are IMS trained, certified and licensed to practice IMS through the College of Physical Therapists of BC.