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eToims® FAQs

How many people in the United States suffer from pain?

More than 76 million Americans suffer from some level of pain. Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

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What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain can be a debilitating, lifelong disease that impairs an individual's ability to live a normal, functional life. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial mishap -- sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain -- arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer from chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.

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What are some conditions of chronic pain?

Chronic nerve-related muscle pain conditions include neck pain, shoulder pain, middle, upper and lower back pain, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, spinal stenosis, tendonitis, whiplash, musculoskeletal pain, degenerative disc, and other diseases.

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What is Myofascial pain and Fibromyalgia?

Myofascial pain is a pain syndrome limited to skeletal muscles, characterized by trigger points, which when stimulated give rise to pain in characteristic areas that can elicit a local twitch response. Affected muscles have limited range of movement. Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a debilitating disorder with chronic, widespread muscle pain and patients may also exhibit a range of other symptoms, including sleep disturbance, fatigue, irritable bowel/bladder syndrome, headache, skin sensitivity and mood disorders.

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What is a twitch?

A twitch is a characteristic, brisk muscle contraction followed by relaxation from stimulation at the neuromuscular junctions. Twitches contract, stretch and release muscular tension in areas of muscle pain and tightness, essentially massaging sore muscles from within the afflicted area.

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What is eToims®?

eToims® is an advanced diagnostic therapy for individuals suffering from chronic pain, as well as individuals desiring general physical health improvement and enhancement. eToims® is the only treatment that is able to provide objective pain diagnosis by locating injured or irritable nerve-muscle meeting areas, while simultaneously seeking to end pain and stimulate muscle re-education by inducing deep muscle twitches at damaged trigger points. For those in pain who can benefit from The eToims® Technique, pain relief may be experienced simultaneously with trigger point localization.

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What is The eToims® Technique?

The eToims® Technique is the technique to locate and diagnose presence of irritable motor points. Brief, low frequency repetitive stimulation is targeted to fatigue irritable neuromuscular junctions and focuses the stimuli to reach only the trigger point (motor point or the motor endplate zones). The motor point is where the most peripheral nerve terminal meets the muscle fiber (the nerve muscle junction) and is very electrically sensitive to stimulation. The eToims® Technique is the only available surface stimulation that induces deep twitches from neuromuscular junctions of muscles closest to the bone and joints to relieve pain by enabling muscles to relax:

  • Releasing tightness and tension on affected body areas,
  • Increasing intramuscular blood flow which improves tissue oxygenation, while
  • Concomitantly increasing outflow of pain-producing muscle tissue wastes

The ability of The eToims® Technique to allow tight muscle spasms to fatigue and relax removes the vice-like effect of these tight muscles on entrapped nerves and blood vessels within the muscles as well as to remove the pulling effects that these tight muscles have on underlying pain sensitive receptors of bone and joints.

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When was The eToims® Technique first developed?

Jennifer Chu, M.D., began the development of The eToims® Technique in 1990, and initially used a needle electrode for automated electrical intramuscular stimulation. The current non-invasive, state-of-the-art technology, developed in 2006, has roots in the 5,000-year old tradition of acupuncture. However, instead of rebalancing altered energy that underlies pain production, The eToims® Technique rebalances the altered normal muscle state sufficiently by use of a unique combination of anatomical and physiological knowledge to partially or completely relieve neuromuscular pain. Dr. Chu has used The eToims® Technique since 1990 to successfully treat more than 1,000 patients in more than 10,000 procedures.

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How does The eToims® Technique work?

The eToims® Technique works by targeting the trigger points where nerves and muscles meet, causing twitch contractions to stretch and relax damaged muscles. This provides results superior to traditional methods of physical therapy that only mechanically stimulate superficial surface muscles, far from the muscle layers where injuries lie. The eToims® Technique produces painless (and often pleasurable) deep twitch contractions that stretch and relax damaged muscles. This produces an inflow of fresh blood to oxygenate tired muscles, as pain-producing chemicals simultaneously flow out from affected areas.

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Who should consider receiving The eToims® Technique as a treatment of choice?

The eToims® Technique is an ideal treatment for individuals with acute and chronic nerve-related muscle plain, including those who have not responded to other non-invasive and invasive treatments such as spinal injections and/or surgery. Those suffering from neck pain and lower back pain that result from sitting at a desk and using a computer, muscle injuries from recreational and professional athletics and fitness activity, whiplash from car accidents, and other types of nerve-related muscle disorders (fibromyalgia, chronic pain, back pain etc.), are ideal candidates.

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Should a patient receive The eToims® Technique only when he or she is experiencing pain?

No. Often one has heard of or experienced progression from muscle tightness, through spasm, then discomfort, to tenderness and pain. If one has this pattern, early intervention with The eToims® Technique is beneficial, even before onset of overt pain. It is common for those with chronic or relapsing pain to recognize that the earlier the intervention at a lower pain level by The eToims® Technique, medications or whatever mechanism that has worked in the past, the more efficacious it seems. Many times with early intervention, pain progression can be halted and/or reversed.

When the pain level is high, The eToims® Technique sessions will not be able to locate trigger points effectively, due to severe muscle tightness. That tightness appears to exert a dampening effect on the involved muscle fibers directly affected by that trigger point, impairing resultant generation of a twitch of sufficient force that either shakes the joint or preferably moves the joint from those fibers. Therefore, experience has taught patients undergoing The eToims® Technique to schedule weekly sessions when pain free and involved muscle characteristics are commensurate with the ability of The eToims® Technique to generate adequate force twitches. This tends to preclude pain escalation over time, which parallels precluding escalation of muscle spasm over time. By relieving muscle spasm, The eToims® Technique increases range of motion, which analgesics such as narcotics cannot provide. Increasing range of motion increases function.

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What conditions can The eToims® Technique help?

The eToims® Technique can help the following conditions:

  • Neck muscle pain
  • Mid-back muscle pain
  • Arm pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Foot pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Whiplash of the spine or whiplash
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Early carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Sports injuries
  • Degenerative disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis

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What outcome should a patient expect from The eToims® Technique?

A patient's results will depend on the ease or difficulty in finding trigger points within a given time frame and the force of twitches generated. If trigger points cannot be stimulated and the twitch forces produced are weak, there may be no relief of discomfort and/or pain, or the relief will not be as substantial. Muscles become tight and may impair trigger point localization depending on: (1) the extent and duration of nerve root involvement and degeneration, (2) age of patient, (3) obesity, and (4) any other medical conditions that can affect nerve and muscle function.

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How many eToims® Technique sessions are necessary for discomfort/pain relief?

eToims® Technique can produce pain relief when trigger points can be stimulated to produce characteristic twitches of adequate strength. With mild acute partial nerve root irritation, trigger points are easier to locate for stimulation to produce the essential twitches. This leads to more significant relief of discomfort and/or pain with one or a limited number of eToims® Technique sessions. With chronic nerve root irritation, trigger point localization is difficult due to chronic tightness of the muscles. Ongoing weekly sessions can maintain the pain relief achieved, and improve mobility and function for a progressive return to moderate activity. Patients with chronic pain have a tendency for re-injury to nerve roots with formation of additional new trigger points even with activities of daily living. These new trigger points are easier to be healed with ongoing eToims® Technique sessions, allowing patients to have a stable or progressive improvement in quality of life.

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How soon after an injury should a patient receive The eToims® Technique?

The eToims® Technique is best applied before muscles become shortened and tight, which is usually associated with the highest pain levels. Therefore, in order to obtain the best results with The eToims® Technique, the sessions should begin preferably within 24 hours of an injury and certainly before the pain escalates.

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Is The eToims® Technique painful?

In general, no, however the degree of discomfort during a session depends somewhat upon the patient's immediate, preexistent pain level and degree of muscle tightness. If the patient's pain level is very high in the ranges of 8-10/10 before treatment, the pain level should be decreased by appropriate medication.

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What are the side effects of The eToims® Technique?

Depending upon the degree of muscle spasm and muscle tightness present, if strong force twitches are not elicited, significant pain relief may not result. Sometimes, even if elicited, twitches can be accompanied by a transient increase in pain, not only during, but 1-2 days after the treatment session.

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Who provides The eToims® Technique?

The eToims® Technique is applied by experienced, trained, and certified eToims® Specialists, many of whom are physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors.

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Is The eToims® Technique covered by insurance?

The eToims® Technique is offered as a cash treatment, though there may be partial insurance coverage depending on your health care provider. The initial consultation and electrodiagnostic studies are covered by most health-care plans.

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What are the contraindications to The eToims® Technique?

We have avoided use of The eToims® Technique in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators and recommend that presence of such implanted devices and stimulators, be considered a contraindication for the use of The eToims® Technique. Other contraindications include patients with pacemakers, seizure disorders, history of cerebrovascular accidents including transient ischemic attacks, bleeding disorders, therapeutically anticoagulated, active infections, active inflammations, fractures, acute illnesses, organ failures, neuroendocrine disorders (e.g. pheochromocytoma), hyperkinetic heart syndrome, coronary artery disease with angina, debilitation, significant profound psychiatric disorder, suicidal or homicidal ideas, inability to follow commands, disruptive or non-cooperative patients and pregnant patients. Those patients with very severe and high levels of pain, pain associated with significant denervation, failed multiple spinal surgeries, need for multiple narcotics for pain control, pain due autoimmune diseases, central pain or sympathetically maintained pain, those with thickened and scarred skin, oedema, and obesity are not candidates for The eToims® Technique.

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Where can a patient find a healthcare provider who provides The eToims® Technique?

For patients in or near the Philadelphia area, The eToims® Technique is currently available at the eToims® Soft Tissue Comfort Center in University City, Philadelphia. For those outside the area, please visit or call (888) 9-ETOIMS for additional information.

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