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NMES on just the affected side?

Morning All,

I just wondered what the general consensus is. When dealing with an athlete who has some loss of muscle mass and strength in one leg (in this case, following LBP with referred pain down that leg), would it be better to apply NMES to just that leg (to allow it to ''catch up''), or to both legs simultaneously?

Many thanks for your time


matt Sanderson

1 year ago

Back to General Electrotherapy

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That sounds great, thank you both so much for your advice. Much appreciated,


Prof Tim Watson
Prof Tim Watson

Matt. Agree with Sandy - certainly on the 'both sides' issue. Much of the research is only done on the 'affected' side - but that is because of the research design rather than it being the 'best' thing to do. By all means go unilateral to get things started, but bilateral good for complete rehab. Not too onerous if the patient has a device which they use at home to do this - easy and low cost - and does not soak up your clinic time (though I appreciate that there are those who will disagree with the home treatment philosophy). Use the clinic time for the things that NEED to happen in the clinic - and can't be done at home. Get the patient to self manage after instruction - but ion answer to your question (which was not about home vs clinic treatment!), yes, go bilateral. Tim

Dr Sandy Rennie
Dr Sandy Rennie

Hi Matt. I would suggest determining what grade the muscle strength is of each leg (quadriceps in particular) and then I'd apply NMES to the weak leg until the strength has improved to at least Grade 3+ or more. Once you have achieved that it would likely be best to strengthen both legs together using body weight (e.g. squats, lunges) and perhaps strength-training equipment.

Cheers, Sandy

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