Toronto Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
What you need to know

IMS – A Professional’s Guide

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) was developed by Dr Chan Gunn. Unlike other dry needling techniques, Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of neuropathic myofascial pain syndromes.

It can only be practised by doctors and physiotherapists who have been specially trained and certified by the Gunn IMS program. Training and certification are done at the University of British Columbia (UBC). This professional must possess a thoroughly tested and demonstrated knowledge of anatomy and no-go areas for dry needling.

Three categories of pain:

Type 1. Nociceptive Pain:  From stimuli that have the potential to damage tissue, in other words, those coming from mechanical, thermal or chemical sources (e.g. in response to a skin laceration). These produce an immediate afferent activity in the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Type 2. Inflammatory Pain:  Cellular injury caused by pathogens, damaged cells, and/ or other irritants. This results in local redness, macro-swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. The purpose of this reaction is to eliminate the harmful agent and heal the area.

Type 3. Neuropathic Pain:  Pain, with or without the above noted tissue injury, caused by a dysfunction in the nervous system. The result is super-sensitivity in the pain system, like an “overly sensitive car alarm”. A common form of this 3rd type is Chronic Myofascial Pain.

Chronic Myofascial Pain:

Intramuscular Stimulation’s assessment of chronic myofascial pain involves: identifying the sensory, autonomic, trophic and muscular abnormalities. These are looked for both locally in the painful areas, as well as at their corresponding spinal level. Postural overloading, often the root cause of chronic pain, is also identified.

The treatment involves dry needling of taut, tender muscle bands in affected upper / lower extremities & muscles immediately adjacent to the spine (from the lower neck to the pelvis). This needling results in:

A reflex relaxation of the muscle, which unloads affected tendons, bursae and joints.
Micro-injury that initiates local healing.
The production of an electrical potential that normalizes nerve function.

For long term effectiveness, treatments must also address the underlying postural dysfunctions and muscle imbalances. Over time, this leads to a marked reduction in the patient’s chronic pain.

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This information is not provided to self-diagnose. Pain comes from many sources. It is therefore very IMPORTANT that you also consult your doctor.