February 22, 2009
Neurostim - is it safe for me to try on my own?
I am often asked that question.
My answer is - No, it's not safe.
A physical therapist can analyze which muscles are weak, how your gait is abnormal and design a program specific to you. As you get stronger the therapist can advance your exercises and advance which muscles you give neurostim. It is impossible to know on your own how to restore a more normal walking pattern without someone to analyze your muscles.
My rehabilitation of walking took many months of work, with ongoing adjustments of both my exercise program, and which muscles to stimulate. I doubt that anyone can successfully get their walking rehabilitated without some level of PT support. Also, even I have managed to give myself electrical burns because I did not recognize the hazards of the electrical therapy appropriately. The initial experience my therapist has had treating others with MS indicates that about a quarter of those who try neurostim cannot continue because for them the experience appears to activate a neuropathic type of pain response.
Again, I must remind people that one positive experience is not proof that neurostim will be helpful for others with MS. Nor does one positive experience tell us what the risks are either.
TENS vs NMES
Electrical therapy is delivered at various frequencies (cycles per second), wave shapes, and intensity of current. T ENS is t ypically at a lower frequency than NMES. The waves are shaped differently and the current is typically lower in T ENS which is why NMES is much more painful than TENS.
NMES alone isn't likely to be of much long term benefit
Finally, if the reasons for the smoldering activity in the MS are not addressed - it is likely that the neurostim will have limited benefit for the individual. If you have not read the MS Recovery Diet - I suggest you look into that book. It would also be wise to look into the issues related to food sensitivies mentioned in the previous post.
In our study - we do plan to address the issues of smoldering MS activity associated with food sensitivities. I think that will be another important factor. in our study once we get it going.
MS is a complex disease - with many contributing factors. The more you an address each potential contributor, the more likely you are to cool off the fires of inflammation and begin the healing.