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Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

Have you ever seem one of those silly belts they sell to make your abs "ripped?" They tell you it will make your stomach rock hard with the "power of EMS". Does it work? Who knows, I prefer the old fashioned sit up. But, in theory at least, it might. So what is EMS, and how is it related to chiropractic care? If you've got a couple of minutes...

Reno chiropractic EMS treatmentThis web site was created so our chiropractic patients could easily understand what we're talking about. Our hope is to break down each topic, like EMS, so anyone could understand. Hopefully we will not get too technical, but give you a clear explaination of our chiropractic terminology, and medical procedures.

Remember the stomach belt thing? It uses EMS or "Electrical muscle stimulation" to contract the stomach muscles. Chiropractors use EMS to stimulate muscles too, but in our case, it is used to ease muscles that might be contracted, or locked in a tense state around a joint or bone.

I saw an old movie where this mad scientist had a wall of body parts connected to EMS. He could flip a switch and grab an unsuspecting visitor; and yes, Dr. Frankenstein used EMS to bring his monster to life. Actually, electronic muscle stimulation was all the rage 200 years ago, people used to go to theatres where doctors attached their early EMS machines to severed animal parts. Shreaking women (and men) were heard for blocks. It must have been very terrifying.

Today, EMS is not such a sideshow attraction as it was, it's a common procedure done thousands of time every day. Is EMS therapy painful? No, pain is not the right word. The feeling is more of a slight tingling. If anything, it's a little annoying, but it works, so like cod liver oil, you hold your nose, and swallow. Seriously, it's not that bad, I just like making fun of things. Treatment is actually fairly simple. They hook you up, and the EMS pulses energy into your muscle (pictured at top left) in this case, the lower back. The patient (you) lies face down, for about 20 minutes while the electronic pulses turn on, and off. This energy encourages the muscle to "relax". Why does it need to relax? Let's look at an average injury.

Let's say you go up to Mount Rose for the day. Some snowboarder cuts you off, and you tumble down the back slope, and injure your back. By the time you get home from the ski resort, your back will have tensed up something terrible, when you move, you get shooting pains down your leg, in your hip, or you may not even be able to stand up straight. In order to treat a patient like this, we recommend several things for your treatment.

When you first come in we may have you relax on our wave table, which is kind of a new fangled waterbed, that heats, and massages your back to relax the muscles, then you might undergo spinal decompression to relieve the pressure on the nerves in your lower back. Finally, you might have some EMS therapy, to relax the muscles. One treatment may not enough, patients occationally need two or three EMS treatments to completely relax the muscle after injuries.

EMS has received increasing attention in the last few years, because it has the potential to serve as: a strength training tool for healthy subjects and athletes; a rehabilitation and preventive tool for partially or totally immobilized patients. Contact (ISS) today to see one of our doctors of chiropractic and find out for yourself if EMS is right for you.

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