Vibrate your Groove Thing

The staff and patients at Aim2Walk know that I love to dance.  In fact, I sometimes can’t even hold it in… a good beat and I just gotta move!  So, when our new Sonic Wave Vibration System arrived I was intrigued.  The system uses a large speaker to produce vibration through sound waves.  When you go to a dance club or concert and can feel the thumping bass in your body, that’s sound wave vibration too!  The Sonic Wave just helps us harness the therapeutic benefits of sound for Whole Body Vibration (WBV).

Sonic Wave Vibration System

Recently, there has been an increased interest in the use of WBV in clinical populations including those with neurological disorders. Several studies have demonstrated improved postural control for individuals with MS and Parkinson’s disease and others show that stroke patients exposed to WBV make significant gains of strength and power in the affected leg.  Sensory feedback of the muscles and joints can be enhanced by the addition of vibration.  Vibration has also been shown to improve circulation, and may have a role in lymphatic flow as well.

Mechanical vibration has been the standard in WBV, but sonic body vibration is the newest advance.  Mechanical vibration can be harsher and more stressful to the tissues, but sonic units provide a smoother and more natural vibration.  The Sonic Wave also allows the therapist to control a large range of vibration frequencies, allowing us to target specific tissues and customize the effect.

Frequencies 3-50 Hz

And here’s my favourite part! The Sonic Wave Vibration System allows you to plug in your MP3 player or computer and literally “Feel the Music”.  Imagine adding Michael Jackson or Lady Gaga to your therapy team.  Admit it, now YOU feel like dancing.

We have already been using the Sonic Wave in our clinic to assist in training strength, balance, and proprioception.  It’s also been effective for patients with poor sensation and circulation.  Sonic vibration is a great addition to our therapy protocol.   I am excited to see if the Sonic Wave can help get our patients moving!

Aim2Walk TV Segment

Today’s post gives our readers a break from reading (with the exception of this very brief, to the point, non-rambling introduction). I present to you Aim2Walk’s President, Aaron Stiller, and his appearance on Day Time, a Rogers TV talk show.  Aaron discusses the Armeo, one of the many rehabilitation innovations utilized at Aim2Walk.

Click Here to watch Aaron discuss the Armeo

The ABCs of MS & CCSVI

Imagine yourself driving down the highway.  There’s nothing but you, your car, and nice smooth pavement. Regardless of your destination, you will get there quickly if you need to.

Now imagine that the highway has been stripped of its pavement and the road has become rough and unpredictable.  Guess what? You’re not getting to your destination nearly as quickly…if at all.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that strips your body’s highways of their pavement, so to speak.  The central nervous system (made up of the brain and spinal cord) is the information highway of your body.  Myelin, which increases the speed at which impulses travel along our nerves, is the pavement.  When myelin degrades, the nerve signal is impaired, and sometimes lost.

People with MS can have many different symptoms.  Although much is known about correct diagnosis, different presentations of the disease, and medicinal treatments, little is known about the cause of MS.

Current research has shown that a complicated relationship between environmental and genetic risk factors may play an important role for people diagnosed with the disease.  Recently (June 2008), an Italian study was published pointing to a possible relationship between MS and blockages in the veins of the head and neck.

Dr. Paolo Zamboni, the main author of the Italian study, coined the term Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency, commonly known as CCSVI.  The theory is that the veins in the head and neck that drain blood back to the heart are narrower than usual.  This results in a build up of pressure that forces blood back up into the brain.  Over time, this blood leaks out of the blood vessels into the central nervous system depositing iron in those tissues (primarily the brain).  Unfortunately, iron is an irritant and triggers the immune response associated with MS.

Dr. Zamboni’s  initial studies found that nearly 90% of his subjects with MS had CCSVI found during Doppler Ultrasound, however his studies have been criticized heavily for not having control groups.  Dr. Zamboni felt strongly about his results, and his conclusions included a strong recommendation that more research was needed to further prove his theory.

More recent studies of CCSVI have shown it to occur more frequently in people with MS (as well as other neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s), but it has also been found in people without disease.  A 2011 Meta-Analysis  (looking at 8 high quality studies from around the world) found a strong, statistically significant association between MS and CCSVI, yet, like Zamboni, the authors recommended more research is needed.

Current research also suggests that, although CCSVI and MS have a strong association, CCSVI does not appear to cause MS.  Again, most researchers recommend more studies are required for a definitive answer.

The result of the initial research from Dr. Zamboni was a simple treatment technique aimed at eliminating the CCSVI and restoring normal blood flow through the compromised veins.  Take a look at the video at the bottom of this post for an illustration of CCSVI and the angioplasty surgery (often referred to as the “Liberation” Surgery).  People all over the world have had the Liberation surgery with varying degrees of success and failure.

Currently, Canada does not allow the Liberation Surgery, so Canadians have had to travel to Italy, Poland, India, USA, Mexico…and other countries to undergo what they hope will be a life changing procedure.  What will it take for Canada to start allowing, and hopefully funding this surgery?  More quality research!

Our team at Aim2Walk is always interested in issues that affect the lives of our clients.  We have a strong interest in CCSVI and have created a therapy protocol to maximize our clients’ outcomes following the Liberation surgery.  It is because of this protocol that we have been asked by the CCSVI Foundation of Canada to present at their Information Conference 2012 in Vaughn, Ontario on Saturday, January 28th.

We are interested in raising awareness and starting discussion on the topic.  The goal is to bring the issues related to CCSVI to the forefront so that more quality research can be initiated in Canada and that we can find more truths about the relationship between CCSVI and MS.

If you would like more information on this conference, or if you would like to attend, please click here.

– Matt