iSAW 02.16 International Myopain Society

Chapter Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2014

The International Myopain Society (IMS) was formed in 1999 with the mission “to bring together an international community of health care professionals, researchers, educators, and others to improve care and transform delivery of treatment to those suffering from soft tissue pain through the promotion and exchange of globally recognized research, education, and innovation in patient care. ” These dedicated people had been meeting as a group since the 1980’s. Members are mostly medical doctors, researchers and physical therapists; but also include chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists and manual trigger point therapists.

Every 3 years or so the IMS has held international conventions. Over the years these have been held in Italy, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Spain, and Seattle WA. At its height there were 800 society members; with 600 people turning up to symposiums. This past September, I attended the inaugural US chapter meeting in Minneapolis MN along with just 35 attendees! Where was everyone?

In 2011, the IMS management was handed over to a management firm based in Florida, a state famous for the word ‘ponzi’. In early 2012 the society’s sizable bank account was drained dry and members received nothing in return. Because of this, international membership has declined to its present size of just 175. The efforts to recover the stolen money are ongoing. In the meantime many members have dug deep into their pockets to donate funding to pay off IMS debts.

Phoenix rising


Despite this enormous setback, current president Dr. Jim Fricton enthusiastically welcomed the smallgathering, some of whom had travelled from as far away as Belgium and Japan. Dr. Fricton is very optimistic that IMS can rise from the ashes. This is because we members believe that a large proportion of chronic pain is of muscle origin. To quote the IMS website “…muscle pain is a physical disorder that is real, measureable and treatable”. Fricton has a plan to initiate ‘The People’s Campaign for Preventing Chronic Pain’. This revolution in healthcare will trumpet cost-effective methods for pain-relief, while at the same time encourage public fund raising.

Sign up, sign up

There are many reasons to join the IMS; the trustworthy and delightful Amy Phillips now manages the society, only the IMS treasurer can write the cheques, the website has great information, and the member search helps connect pain sufferers with practitioners. Members also receive the online publication ‘The Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain’. I know that the remaining staunch international researchers and clinicians will continue to spread the word on evidence-informed best practice in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain.

Future blogs will reveal current insights from IMS chapter meeting. I will expand on the newly devised diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia, the latest on the ‘trigger point’ hypothesis, the commonality of myofascial pain, and also cover the latest in proven soft-tissue interventions, including many integrative strategies.