Have you had muscle soreness that would not go away, no matter how much you stretch and massage the area? If so, the tight muscle fibres may be very deep and intramuscular stimulation may be required to help relieve the pain.
What is intramuscular stimulation?
Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is a dry needling technique performed by physiotherapists that involves inserting an acupuncture needle into a tight and shortened muscle fibre called a trigger point, then using an electrical current to twitch the muscle and aid in releasing tension. The small wound caused by the needle will also bring the body’s natural repair mechanisms to help remove metabolites that contribute to the stiffness.
Despite using acupuncture needles, intramuscular stimulation and dry needling are different from acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture focuses their needles on meridian points, and are left in for much longer than IMS needles. Intramuscular stimulation, on the other hand, targets muscles in pain or sources of referred pain and are only left for a brief moment while the stimulation is occurring.
Intramuscular stimulation has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic pains, providing immediate relief and relaxation of the muscle. However, the effects are only temporary and individuals are still required to regularly stretch afterwards to maintain the relaxed state. If you think that intramuscular stimulation may benefit your pain, consult with a physiotherapist to see if IMS is right for you.