Yesterday, I went to my Physiotherapist (Colin Miller at Yaletown Sport and Spinal, he’s incredible) because I’ve been having some weird pain in my foot for the past week or so. Within minutes of being in his office, he was adjusting my spine and sticking needles into my muscles in a way that felt like I was getting a minor operation. Something he calls: The Runner’s Tune Up. AKA IMS.
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), is a procedure where the practitioner uses a needle to treat the neurological aspect (problems with nerve firing) of the problem invasively (treats from the inside out).
The needles used are similar to acupuncture needles, but are much longer. The needles are inserted one by one into the muscle belly portion of the muscle and will do one of two things: Create a painful reaction if your muscle is tense, or nothing if the muscle is healthy and relaxed.
Unlucky for me, I had plenty of the tight/tense kind.
The pain (similar to a muscle cramp, sometimes like a nerve being pinched) is caused by the muscle grasping the needle. This is the muscle coming into a maximal contraction - eventually (even if the needle is left in the muscle), the muscle relaxes and kick starts the healing process. Though you are left sore and sometimes bruised for a few days, the treatment works.
I have used this treatment method for the past 18 months and swear by it. It is the only treatment method that I have ever been able to trust at 100%. I must say, it is not for everyone. Must be able to handle pain - but, in my opinion, in the long run, it is worth every minute of it.
For more info on IMS, check out http://www.istop.org/. For a kick ass practitioner in Vancouver, go to Colin Miller, Yaletown Sport and Spinal.