Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a dry needling technique aimed at reducing muscle tension and spasm that may be causing pain or dysfunction in an affected area. As a result of acute or prolonged repetitive trauma, nerves can become sensitized. Previously harmless signals become exaggerated, causing the muscles they supply to shorten. These shortened muscles in turn cause pain by pulling on tendons, compressing joints, and compressing nerves. This pain then causes further muscle shortening.
During an IMS treatment, the therapist will insert fine acupuncture needles into the tight bands of shortened muscles to evoke a reflex relaxation response in the muscles. When the muscles relax, pressure is reduced on muscle tendons, joints, and the nerves. During this relaxation the nerves return to having an ideal level of sensitivity, enabling the body to heal.