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Thread: Why does EMS not work in some SCI patients?

  1. #1

    Why does EMS not work in some SCI patients?

    I've been looking for an adequate answer about why electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) does not work for me... local Docs just say, "well, that's how you present..." well, DUH! Why? I have used them many times before my injury for rehab following 3 ACL replacements (yes, I did one knee twice, 10 years apart!) and it was always explained that the direct electrical stimulation completely bypassed nerves and caused muscles to contract with out them. Well, no amount of voltage will get any response from my legs following injury, and I'm wondering why that is, if no nerves are involved?

  2. #2
    google innervation and denervation.

  3. #3
    I did, and found that different EMS protocols are needed for innervated vs deinervated muscle, but that it will still work...

  4. #4
    Depends on your level of injury and if you are incomplete or not. those that can't use it are usually injured around T/11 and below. I believe that where the nerves that contract are located and if injurd they don't work.

    If we knew your level of injury etc. I'm sure it could be explained in better detail.

  5. #5
    I'm T6 complete... but even IF the nerves are damaged, running voltage through a muscle fiber will make it contract, sans innervation. Is it simply a matter of getting enough voltage across the skin to the muscle w/o damaging the skin?

  6. #6
    I have wondered many of these things also. I have tried the TENS unit on my legs, knee area and other places with no reaction what so ever. But it did work wonders on my left Achilles tendon. I am a L-1 incomplete with nerve damage. The places i tried the TENS on i had severe soft tissue damage from compartment syndrome so i am guessing thats why it didnt work.

    On my lower back i have to put the pads above my injury to get much help now and thats on a higher setting. I do think the nerve damage deal has alot to do with it.
    “If everybody's thinking alike, somebody isn't thinking.” Gen. Patton

  7. #7
    Hi Everyone
    I too am one of the folk here floating in the SCI boat and here is my experience with why EMS units work in some folk and vice versa

    Depending on the severity of the actual spinal cord some neurons variably randomly fire off impulses etc... Upon a patient or who ever hooking up the stimuli electrical device / Some patients feel twitches or stimuli and other's dont feel these sensations .

    3 years ago I hooked up a Tens unit to my left leg and watched my foot twitch as this unit triggered off impulses . I like the unit and it gives me a sense of hope knowing impulses may return being nothing is etched in stone 100%

    Accupuncture and electrical impulses inspire me to hold onto a 4 letter word called Hope

    Some SCI patients over anticipate recovery but rome wasnt built in a day Right ?

    We can live on hope as a goal to have a reason to keep going forward
    Even if it is in micro steps anything is possible and nothing is impossible .


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