Here’s some health advice about how to treat pain naturally: try some intramuscular stimulation, or IMS. This is an alternative therapy that’s a little off the radar. While many people do try massage and/or acupuncture as a way to relieve pain symptoms, not many know about IMS.
IMS is similar to acupuncture in that it involves the use of small needles. However, where the two differ is in the execution of treatment.
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In acupuncture, needles are inserted along established meridians in the body as mapped out by healers in Chinese medicine thousands of years ago. IMS, on the other hand, is based on trigger points. A trigger point is exactly the place where you feel pain—whether it’s in your lower back, shoulder, or hip.
IMS is increasingly being studied as an alternative to other traditional pain relief methods. Recently, a research team conducted a review to evaluate the effectiveness of IMS. After wading their way through a total of 416 publications, the researchers found four studies they wanted to focus on.
One study evaluated the efficacy of IMS for chronic tension-type headaches; IMS showed a better effect than the control treatment. Three more studies tested the effectiveness of IMS for various conditions.
In the first study, there was no difference between IMS and meloxicam (a popular pain drug) in the treatment of chronic shoulder pain.
The second study evaluated the effectiveness of IMS patients with myofascial pain syndrome of the upper trapezius muscle (once again, in the shoulder area). IMS had a greater healing effect than simple dry needling.
In the third study, patients with low back pain who received IMS in addition to the standard treatment had a better status at discharge than those receiving the standard treatment alone.
For those with chronic pain, the difference between feeling better and not feeling better can be balanced on a very fine line. Sometimes you just have to find the treatment that works for you and that your body responds to. IMS could be that treatment if you’ve tried everything else and nothing has brought pain relief yet.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Why You’ll Want to Try IMS for Low Back Pain Relief
Kim, T.H. et al., “Intramuscular stimulation therapy for healthcare: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials,” Acupunct Med. December 2012; 30(4): 286–90; 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010182.