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New approach to chronic back pain with Body Synergy and Delsys EMG

23 Jan 2014

Just a few blocks away from the ADInstruments office in Dunedin, New Zealand, is a boutique gym that uses the  Trigno Wireless Foundation System with LabChart in their everyday work.

Rowan Ellis, founder of the Body Synergy gym , has a simple but compelling approach to relieving musculoskeletal pain. His hypothesis: to protect the spine and joints, one must contract the right muscles at the right time. Rowan believes that poor physical awareness of which muscles we are using, especially the trapezius, is a root cause for a variety of back problems and some forms of migraine.

According to Rowan, “the solution to your back pain or chronic musculoskeletal pain may be as simple as learning how to move in a new way that reduces the load on your spine and joints.”

The Delsys EMG system allows him to view clients’ muscle activity in great detail. Because the sensors are small and wireless, clients can move in a natural way while the data describing their muscle contractions is continuously streamed across distances of up to 20 meters. Using multiple sensors allows measurement across opposing muscle groups such as hip extensors and hip flexors.

The minor adjustments that clients learn can then be applied to everyday movements like lifting children and hanging up laundry as well as to workouts at the gym. This system can help to isolate key postural muscles that may be under-developed and unable to perform their natural role in relieving pressure on joints, leading to exercise plans with real, long-term benefits. It is also used in training videos and on the gym floor as feedback for customers perfecting their technique for specific exercises.

Dr Peter Taylor, clinical neurophysiologist and client, is excited by the potential of Rowan’s approach. “In recent years, Rowan has systematically gathered data from his clients that clearly shows the long-term effectiveness of his approach. He has used this data as well as the research findings of Dr Stuart McGill (Professor of spine biomechanics from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) to modify and further develop his program. What Rowan and his team have discovered is that both strengthening and re-educating your brain to fully utilize certain key muscles is an effective solution for correcting and preventing a wide range of spinal and muscular problems.”

And while Rowan’s research is ongoing, we’re thrilled that he chose our products to embark on the next step of his professional journey: scientific proof of a theory that may change the way chronic back pain is treated. Visit Rowan's Body Synergy website or read more about using  Delsys Trigno EMG systems in your research.

By Ina B Kinski

Hardware & Tools Co-ordinator

analog-to-digital & exercise enthusiast