Pain is a complex experience. It has so many variables and dependencies, it would be simplistic and unrealistic to say there is one tool or method that is best for treating it. Pain management must take a multidisciplinary, multifaceted approach, combining many interventions and pain-relieving techniques. One important facet is muscle conditioning. Pain is often triggered by biomechanical deficits, such as elevated muscle tone (think stress headaches, pelvic floor pain, TMJ dysfunction) or poor control of muscle activation in function, lack of coordination between muscle groups, and loss of contraction force and recruitment (patellofemoral pain, back pain, impingement syndromes, to name a few examples). Moreover, prolonged pain may result in further deteriorations in muscle function. Utilizing the awesome power of biofeedback to help recondition, gain better control, strengthen, and learn to relax these muscles is easy, safe, efficient, and beneficial.
SEMG biofeedback is a simple, non-invasive modality that picks up electrical activity in skeletal muscles, augments, and reveals this otherwise imperceptible information. Information about neuromuscular electrical activity levels and timings gives the clinician insight about the system’s health and condition; the patient’s ability to contract, relax, and control muscle groups; and the underlying causes for symptoms, such as weakness, ataxia, hypertonicity, incontinence, and of course, pain. Quantifying activation levels, recording assessments and trainings, and comparing over time give clinicians an important means of keeping tabs on treatment progression. Perhaps more importantly, once assessments are carried out, and dysfunctions and deficits are recognized, the feedback is used by the patient to identify, localize, and learn how to control function voluntarily. Good, timely, meaningful feedback is a basic principle in motor learning and rehabilitation of damaged and lost function. SEMG biofeedback is a superb means for doing this. Modern devices such as the MyOnyx by Thought Technology, Montreal, even have smart app operation and extravagant, entertaining features and feedback types, such as animations, games, music, and patterns, allowing the patient to understand and enjoy learning and training these functions, thus improving patient adherence and results.
A key factor in pain management is patient empowerment, shifting the focus to active involvement and helping the patient “get behind the wheel” and take charge of their rehabilitation. This is exactly what SEMG biofeedback does. It is the epitome of “giving the keys” to the patient. By showing them, in real time, their activation and effort levels, you essentially give them all the information they need to train and improve on their own, by actively practicing and exercising.
Geva Antopolsky, BPT is an Israeli educated physical therapist with over 10 years of experience with Orthopedic and Neurologic patients, specializing in pain management and self-regulation.
Before Moving to Canada to assume the role of product manager for Thought Technology’s physical rehabilitation line of products,
Geva’s background included acute care in hospitals, private and public clinic work, and most notably, owning and managing a successful private practice.
In his current role at Thought Technology, over the last 5 years, Geva is in charge of gathering insights from clinicians world-wide, learning the needs in the field, and applying this into designing and following the development of Medical grade devices to fit the real needs of real clinicians.
The MyOnyx is the latest outcome of this process. Since its release, Geva has been assisting distributors and clinicians in assimilating and making the most of the system, and has been an advocate for the use of Biofeedback , educating practitioners on the advantages and capabilities of the modality in conferences, workshops and webinars around the world.