Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is being offered at our multidisciplinary clinic in downtown Toronto. Do you have pain that does not seem to respond to traditional treatment measures or does standard treatment only offer short-term results? Do you have an injury that continuously returns with minimal aggravation? Gunn IMS may be the answer for you.
What is Gunn IMS
Gunn IMS is a complete system for the assessment and treatment of neuropathic pain, which is a common cause for the onset of myofascial pain syndromes. Gunn IMS utilizes a “dry needling” technique that involves the application of a very thin acupuncture needle, without the injection of any substance, into tight bands of muscle that have been made tight by unhealthy nerves. The tightened muscle will “twitch” or will “grasp” the needle producing a momentary deep cramping sensation. The needle is removed once this desired effect is attained and the result is threefold.
- The stretch receptor in the muscle is stimulated, producing a relaxation reflex and lengthening of the stimulated muscle
- The needle puncture causes a small injury that stimulates an inflammatory response, increasing blood flow to the needled area and resulting in a natural healing response.
- The needling creates an electrical potential in the muscle that improves the functioning of the nerve that supplies the muscle.
The needle sites can be directed right into the tight bands of muscle and/or they can be inserted into muscles near the spine where the nerve root may be compressed and irritated. The needling technique and the specific sites chosen to treat rely heavily on a physical examination of the patient by a practitioner who is fully trained in this technique and is able to recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain.
Medical professionals are generally successful with treating pain that is the result of injured tissue or inflammation. However, it can be perplexing when there is no obvious tissue damage present or the timeline for soft tissue healing has already past but the pain sensation persists. This category of pain can most often be explained by unhealthy nerves that are not functioning in a normal manner (neuropathic pain). Nerves make up the wiring of our human body and are the communication mechanism between all structures and our central processing systems. Nerves require adequate nutrition from tiny arteries that surround the nerve so that they can function properly. Disc protrusions or herniation, bone spurring or other degenerative changes along the spine, muscle tension following an injury, overuse syndromes or postural dysfunctions can all cause compression around the nerve and it’s tiny arteries. Even the slightest bit of compression around the nerve can limit nutrition to the nerve and cause the nerve signals to behave erratically and become supersensitive. When a nerve behaves in this fashion it can influence the functioning of each structure that the nerve communicates with and as such we can see changes in the muscles, vasculature, skin and joints. All of these changes can result in pain, reduced mobility, poor muscle control, decreased body awareness and decreased functioning in affected individuals. In a muscle, a disrupted nerve can lead to shortening of the muscle fibres and increased tightness. This can perpetuate the problem further because it can lead to further nerve compression and can result in myofascial pain syndromes.
Effects of Gunn IMS
With correct application, the source of nerve compression can be released and the nerve can function normally again ultimately improving the pain and symptoms of the patient. The effects of Gunn IMS are cumulative with each treatment providing incremental relief until full resolution is achieved. Most patients remain pain free after the series of Gunn IMS treatment is completed. There are few patients that return intermittently for maintenance sessions. The number of treatment sessions required depends on several factors including the length of time the injury has persisted, the health of the patients’ nerves, the age of the individual and the general health of the patient.
Conditions Treated by Gunn IMS
Conditions that have a neuropathic origin such as:
- Low Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Blade Pain
- Arthritis of the Spine
- Chronic Pain
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Ongoing Tendon Issues: Tennis Elbow, Achilles Tendonitis, Rotator Cuff Tendonitis, Patellar Tendonitis
- Postural dysfunction
- Nerve root compression
Gunn IMS is offered by a few of our physiotherapists that have completed the coursework and training. The cost of this treatment method is included in the cost of physiotherapy. These services may be covered by your extended health benefits plan. Contact us today to book your initial consultation to see if this approach could benefit you.