by Brandi Schlossberg
When it comes to getting a more precise picture of muscle activity, chiropractors may choose to use something called surface electromyography. To perform this procedure, a chiropractor may first direct his or her client to sit or lay down on the table. Then, one or more surface electrodes may be attached to the client’s skin.
These electrodes, which are not at all invasive, will then be able to pick up on the activity of the muscle to which they are attached. For example, if the chiropractor places the electrode on the muscles along a client’s spine, then asks the client to consciously “activate” those muscles, the level of activity should then show up on a computer screen, using specific software for surface electromyography.
From his or her place on the chiropractic table, the client will be able to see when the muscle is activated. The chiropractor will often use surface electromyography to detect whether there is loss of function in a specific muscle, and the level of function detected can serve as a baseline as the client undergoes care. This way, both the chiropractor and the client have a way to measure any improvements in muscle activity and function.
Surface electromyography may not only allow for the more precise measurement of muscle performance, but it can also provide chiropractors with information on whether or not a client has symmetry when it comes to muscle function. For example, by attaching surface electrodes to the muscles that run along either side of a client’s spine, then measuring the levels of activity, one may be able to detect weaknesses or lack of activity on the muscles of one side of the spine as compared to the other.
It is important to remember that surface electromyography is apparently not for the use of measuring a client’s pain. Instead, this procedure is used to measure muscle activity. For chiropractors, this can be a useful tool when it comes to detecting improvements or the efficacy of chiropractic care. For example, after a client has had a session on your table, you may then want to once again use surface electromyography to see whether the session resulted in any improvements in the activity of the muscle or group of muscles.
Another benefit of surface electromyography is the fact that this measure of muscle activity does not involve the use of needles or any other invasive techniques, which sets it apart from a procedure known as needle electromyography.