Intramuscular stimulation involves inserting acupuncture-style needles into muscles to relieve pain and long-term muscle shortening, as Physical Medicine & Injury Rehabilitation explains. The procedure involves stimulating spinal reflexes that cause muscles to contract briefly and then relax to reset the muscles to the normal resting length.
Providers commonly use intramuscular stimulation as an alternative therapy in conjunction with chiropractic care, massage or physical therapy, according to Physical Medicine & Injury Rehabilitation. The procedure focuses on repairing shortened muscle bands that are deemed trigger points and become tender.
Providers often use intramuscular stimulation to treat chronic myofascial pain, but they also use it to treat elbow tendonitis, back pain, sciatica, hip bursitis and shin splints, according to Physical Medicine & Injury Rehabilitation. Some medical professionals recommend intramuscular stimulation to treat plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, patellofemoral pain, and cervical and lumbar strain.
The duration and frequency of intramuscular stimulation varies based on the extent of the patient's condition, the amount of scar tissue present and the patient's rate of healing, as explained by Active Sports Therapy. The rate of healing is often reliant on the age of the patient and the condition of the nerves. Some patients may require multiple treatments, but pain that is relatively recent in origin may require a single treatment.