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Intramuscular Stimulation – A Neuropathic Model

Updated March 2020

What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy refers to dysfunction within a nerve or group of nerves. Prolonged dysfunction can cause nerves to become hyper-sensitized, ultimately intensifying our experience of pain. When it comes to mechanical sources of neuropathy, the most common cause is spondylosis.

Spondylosis refers to degenerative change in the spine, resulting in a narrowing of the space between the vertebrae. Spinal nerve roots may then become compressed, as pictured above. The muscles innervated or supplied by these nerves can develop tight bands within them or trigger points. Furthermore, the tightening/shortening of these muscles impact other structures. For example, tendinopathy can develop due to strain on tendons, or joint pain can occur from stress across a joint.

How Exactly does Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) Alleviate Pain and Dysfunction?

IMS can be an effective tool in decreasing neuropathic pain. Two ways in which it can be used to treat pain and dysfunction include:

  1. Contract-relax reflex response – stimulation by the needle causes a strong muscular contraction, which triggers a reflex response, and results in the muscle relaxing.

  2. Micro-trauma – the needle inflicts a micro-trauma to the tissue which creates an inflammatory response in the muscle (i.e. stimulates protein synthesis), ultimately facilitating healing.

Whether you have dysfunction within a nerve, or group of nerves, in most cases IMS can help alleviate the pain associated with neuropathy. Contact us today and find out if IMS is right for you.

Jayme Gordon graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master's degree in Physical Therapy. Prior to this she completed a Bachelor's of Science Kinesiology degree at the University of Victoria. She is a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association as well as the Physiotherapy Association of BC. Jayme has a passion for working with a diverse patient population ranging from athletes to community dwelling seniors. Book with Jayme today.

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