There comes a point in every new DC’s practice when they hit a plateau.
They’ve managed to build up a respectable roster of regular clients, some of whom even provide regular referrals. They are adept at providing both manual and instrument assisted adjustments on the body for a wide variety of conditions. They even provide adjustments for ongoing maintenance as part of their patients’ wellness lifestyles. All in all, their bottom line is doing OK.
The only problem seems to be that it’s just not moving past OK. Instead, it seems to just be stagnating in a holding pattern.
Does this sound at all familiar to you? By any chance, are you that particular DC who is trying to move that particular practice to the next level? If so, your frustration is completely understandable, and you are not alone. Just bringing in more patients, expanding your hours, or expanding your current marketing efforts may not be enough.
In cases such as this, your best bet may well be to add new services to your current menu of offerings. Not only can you offer this new service to your current patients, but it will provide you with an excellent opportunity to introduce your practice to new patients.
Muscle stimulation (or muscle stim) is an excellent example of a new service you can offer that may give your current practice the push it needs to get to the next level.
What is muscle stimulation?
Muscle stimulation involves stimulating muscle contractions by applying electronic impulses at varying strengths via electrodes that are placed on the patient’s skin in the area of the specific muscle group to be treated.
Muscle stimulation is often used to treat pain and inflammation, as well as in physical therapy to build up atrophied muscles as a result of prolonged periods of lack of movement.
How does muscle stim work?
In terms of pain control, there are two main theories to explain how muscle stimulation works. Gate Control Theory posits that pain signals going to the brain must pass through an interneuron.1 The signals from muscle stimulation pass through this gate and block the nerves that would otherwise deliver pain sensations to the brain.
The second theory is that the muscle contractions stimulate the body’s natural painkillers, including endorphins and enkephalins, which then work to reduce pain.2
In terms of stimulating muscle movement following atrophy, using electrical pulses will make specific muscles involuntarily contract. Over time, this can condition unused muscles to regain strength and tone, thus re-acclimating them to regular use and preventing atrophy as a result of long periods of not being used.3
Benefits of muscle stimulation
The main advantage for muscle stimulation in terms of pain control is that, unlike standard treatment with painkillers, muscle stimulation does not run the risk of becoming addictive or having an adverse interaction with other medications. For your patients who need help rebuilding muscle strength following injury, muscle stimulation can aid in recovery in terms of regaining strength much faster than with just traditional physical therapy methods.
While the benefits of muscle stimulation for your patients are obvious, your practice will also benefit if you incorporate this therapy into your current menu of services. Why not stimulate both your patients’ recovery and the growth of your practice at the same time?
- Mendell LM. Constructing and deconstructing the Gate Theory of pain. Pain 2014, 155(2):210-216.
- Duggan AW, Hall JG, Headley PM. Enkephalins and dorsal horn neurones of the cat: effects on responses to noxious and innocuous skin stimuli. Br J Pharmacol 1977, 61(3):399-408.
- Hasegawa S, Kobayashi M, Arai R, et al. Effect of early implementation of electrical muscle stimulation to prevent muscle atrophy and weakness in patients after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011 Aug, 21(4):622-630.