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Not just Pretty Colours

Surface Electromyography’s role in Chiropractic


If you’ve ever been for a consult at the Cafe of Life then you’ve no doubt had our seated ‘surface Electromyography’ (sEMG) neurological assessment done before.  This test done with two electrode sensors. They are placed at key points along either side of the spine to measure and evaluate the electrical activity used by the muscles that keep you upright against gravity. It functions much like a traditional EKG or modern heart rate monitors but is much more sensitive as the para-spinal muscles have a much smaller muscular output than the heart.

The scan features coloured bars that indicate muscle tone and nerve tension and can pinpoint overactive and/or exhausted neuromuscular areas along the spine. The longer and more dramatic the colour; the more energy is being used by that muscle, the more out of balance it is and the lower your test score will be. Ideally each of your scanned muscles electrical discharge falls within optimal ranges as indicated by white bars.  The acceptable tolerances for each muscle differ depending on the location but optimally should line up in a nice pear shape pattern along your spine.

While performing the scan, real-time output in Volts is represented with a RED line for the left side and a BLUE line for the right side of the body.  Preferably these lines remain equally balanced and symmetrical with the other and if not, can highlight underlying issues within the muscle tissue, the nervous system and/or the body’s ability to manage stressors.

Dr. Joel uses the data from the sEMG scans to locate dysfunction in the nervous system, muscle fatigue and poor energy distribution, as these are signs of unnecessary stressors on the nervous system that can be optimized under consistent Chiropractic care. In fact, as you continue under your care plan, we’ll revisit the sEMG assessment as a way to quantify changes within the nervous system and follow your progress. This allows us to test, not guess as your body regains control and heals.

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