We can also utilize surface electromyography (sEMG) is the recording of muscle action potentials with skin surface electrodes, used as an indicator of muscle recruitment. Recording is noninvasive and painless. We incorporate sEMG to take much of the guesswork out of assessing muscle function. In addition, the sEMG display is a rich source of motor learning information for our patients. Using sEMG, patients gain access to muscle feedback that is far more sensitive than that obtained with the intrinsic senses acting alone. This feedback helps our patients learn to relax overly tense muscles, better activate weak muscles, or change the coordination pattern among agonist, antagonist, and synergist muscles. We can utilize sEMG to cover a broad scope of situations including athletic injury, repetitive strain and worker injury, injury due to motor vehicle accident, chronic pain management, neurological rehabilitation, muscle tension, incontinence, and muscle imbalance.
Imbalance occurs when the relative stiffness of muscles that participate in concert to execute a specific movement is inappropriately coordinated. Muscle imbalance is presumably a function of both faulty central nervous system motor control and peripheral factors. sEMG studies provide insight into the active component of muscle imbalance and can help us correlate the results of physical examination. We also can use the sEMG analysis to identify relationships between muscle impairments and other physical and psychological impairments. Classification of impairments with observed functional limitations and disabilities can then be used to drive treatment planning in a thoughtful way.