Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes. IMS relies heavily on a thorough physical examination of the patient by a competent practitioner, trained to recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. The treatment, which utilizes acupuncture needles, specifically targets injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress. The treatment involves dry needling of affected areas of the body without injecting any substance. The needle sites can be at the epicenter of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless; however, a shortened, supersensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation. Supersensitive areas can be desensitized, and the persistent pull of shortened muscles can be released. (Note: IMS is comparable in some ways to acupuncture; however, there are a number of important differences. IMS requires a thorough examination and diagnosis by a qualified IMS practitioner, needle insertions are indicated by physical signs and not according to predefined meridians, and subjective and objective effects are often experienced immediately.)

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