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  • Electrical Stimulation and Speech Therapy

    Posted by anna on January 31, 2024 at 5:29 am

    I did a bit of Speech Therapy as a kid, mostly exercises that I still do on my own (when I remember it!). It didn’t help much, and I’ve always thought of it as a waste of time, energy and money when it comes to progressive diseases. Now that new treatments are supposed to be a game changer though, I thought it might be worth another shot. My therapist uses techniques like Surface Electromyography (sEMG), Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) and Neuromuscular Taping (NT). I’ve always been wary of experimenting, even with minimally invasive techniques, so I’d really appreciate the Community’s personal experience.

    Are there any risks or side effects? Is there anything I should be cautious about? Is it beneficial after all?

    alyssa-silva replied 3 weeks, 4 days ago 4 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • robert-stump

    Member
    February 1, 2024 at 3:12 pm

    I don’t know how new that treatment is, because I had something very similar performed on me with a speech therapist about 12 years ago. We were attempting to help me swallow food easier and we tried lots of different foods each time after the electrical stimulation treatment in the office. After doing it for several months I really didn’t feel like it made any difference, but I was forced to discontinue the treatment after biting into one of the harder cookies the therapist was attempting to try, and one of my teeth shattered in the office. After the dental issue was resolved (that is a whole other story), I decided to not continue the EMS treatment due to lack of efficacy. But that does it mean it won’t help you, I think my issues are mostly structural and not strength related, so you might want to pursue it. You certainly shouldn’t have any negative reaction to it, it was slightly uncomfortable at times, but not at all painful or unbearable.

    • anna

      Member
      February 5, 2024 at 6:13 am

      I’m sorry it ended up that way, I’ll be sure not to let her feed me any hard stuff! Do you mind sharing how many sessions per week you had? The therapist suggested two, but I don’t think I can fit more than one into my schedule, nor can I afford it.

  • deann-r

    Member
    February 2, 2024 at 10:27 am

    Once upon a time I did Vital Stim along with speech therapy in hopes to improve my swallow. At the time it didn’t really do much. That was prior to treatment though. I’d be curious if that would make a difference. Keep us posted if you try it.

    • anna

      Member
      February 5, 2024 at 6:15 am

      In my understanding, VitalStim is a brand of NMES. Did you get to choose, or does it depend on what the therapist uses? Do you remember if it was twice a week for you as well?

    • deann-r

      Member
      February 5, 2024 at 10:53 am

      When I did the VitalStim it was daily while I was in the hospital and weekly, I think, after I went home. It was an interesting sensation and I could see how in combination with treatment could be helpful. I didn’t have a choice in brand, I guess it was what they had.

      Your comment about not being able to regenerate neurons reminded me of a conversation I had with my neurologist when I first started Spinraza. He mentioned that it’s not really known if the neurons are dead or just dormant, so it’s worth a shot. I thought that was an interesting perspective. I’m thinking that’s why treatment seems more effective in kids, but who knows we might be able to wake up some of those neurons.

      • anna

        Member
        February 6, 2024 at 3:34 am

        Even if we can’t raise them from the dead, I hope we can at least keep the ones that haven’t died yet alive. Anything that can help with that is definitely worth a shot. Thanks for all the info!

  • alyssa-silva

    Member
    February 2, 2024 at 11:27 am

    Hey Anna. Unfortunately, I can’t answer your question because I’ve never heard of these techniques. Are they supposed to help with swallowing? I’d love to hear more if you don’t mind!

    • anna

      Member
      February 5, 2024 at 6:18 am

      In this case we’ll do it to improve my swallow, but they can be used for any muscle that has atrophied due to immobility. NMES is applied using electrodes to send electric impulses to the muscles and facilitate contraction. NT is basically sticking tapes that stretch and expand. Not sure what effect that could have, otter than create more wrinkles on my face…

      The thing is that when the atrophy is caused by any other cause, e.g. an injury, the muscle hasn’t lost its ability to regenerate. When it comes to degenerative diseases on the other hand, that cause neurons to die, I’m not sure there’s anything you can do to revive them.

      I’ll post updates here anyway, unless of course they fry my brain in the process. My therapist also said she would send me more information to discuss with my neurologist, so I can pm you whatever she provides me with if you’re interested.

      • alyssa-silva

        Member
        February 6, 2024 at 1:17 pm

        Thank you for sharing! If you get any more information, I’d love to know more. I’m meeting with my therapist next month and am going to bring this up to her. Are there any specific questions I should ask?

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