By: Dr. Laura Wenger, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT
For those of you who have been around in the clinic recently, you may have observed (or been part of yourself!) a treatment session where a patient is doing exercises and movements while hooked up to a machine via electrodes. Just this past March (right before the COVID-19 shelter-in-place requirements began), Ellen was able to go to Florida to be trained on a machine that uses a new version of an old technology, direct current electrical stimulation, called the NEUBIE. You may be wondering what NEUBIE stands for: Neuro Biological Electrical Stimulation. Ellen became intrigued in bringing this technology into our clinic after learning more about it at a national conference in January of this year.
The timing was not ideal, as Ellen could not have anticipated that there would be a dramatic drop in patients as folks stayed home in those initial months of the global pandemic. However, with the few patients that remained coming into the clinic in a safe manner for their high-priority rehabilitation (which consisted of a majority of people who had just had surgery before the shelter-in-place requirements began), Ellen and the other therapists began working with the NEUBIE machine and seeing the prospective benefit of this piece of equipment as an integral part of getting many of our patients to meet their goals. Once I returned back to the clinic in late April, I was also introduced to the NEUBIE machine and began learning about it’s practical uses.
Now, I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a skeptic by nature when it comes to “gadgets” that are supposed to enhance physical therapy. As a PT that has been trained in the specialty of manual therapy, I have a hard time thinking that our patients would need anything beyond my hands and my brain (to come up with beneficial exercises and activity progressions) to improve toward reaching their goals. However, although my uptake was slow in utilizing this technology within my patient care, I have been finding an outstanding benefit for many patients when I have used the NEUBIE machine to enhance their current exercise program. I’m not going to lie, I have been surprised to hear from many of our patients, especially those with chronic pain, how beneficial they have felt this addition to be by impacting their pain and quality of life in a positive way.
Though clinical research with this device is still in its infancy due to its relative novelty in use, we have seen many anecdotal cases of our patients in real-time benefit from the use of the NEUBIE as part of their rehab program. In order to understand a little more about how the the technology works to address the nervous system and aide in the brain to muscle connection that we often speak so fondly of when prescribing exercises, I think this video does the best job at explaining the basics:
As one of only three clinics in Colorado that have this technology available (with the other two located on the Front Range), we’d love to have you come in and learn more about how the NEUBIE can enhance your return to everything you love with better mobility, less pain, and improved quality. With an individualized approach to examination and coming up with a treatment plan and progression, we can discuss if the NEUBIE might be a good fit for your rehabilitation plan!