EMG Biofeedback is a modality which monitors muscle activity through the use of electrodes placed over a weak muscle. When the muscle becomes active, the electrode senses the electrical impulse created by the muscle and provides feedback to the patient by means of a visual or auditory stimulus (i.e. lights or sounds). By using this method, muscles that are so weak that muscle activity can not be felt by touch can be preferentially targeted and strengthened because the patient can see and hear when the muscle is being active. We can also use this method the opposite way, by having the patient focus on “turning off” muscles that are over-active by making the machine stop signalling.
During a therapy session, we may use this technique as an adjunct to other forms of strengthening to reduce substitution by stronger muscles, improve alignment and address functional strength.