Based on a physical assessment, Dr. Suneel Chilukuri’s treatment plan addresses functional deficits.
This is part 2 of a 2-part series.
When patients come into the practice complaining of pain or functional deficits, Dr. Chilukuri first talks with them about their health and fitness level.
“When's the last time they had a checkup?” he says. “Is there anything else that's functionally wrong? Have they had any recent MRIs or anything of that sort? Do they have a trainer? How many times a week do they work out? Where they feel like their function is off?”
If patients are having issues with their lower body, Dr. Chilukuri has them walk up and down the hallway to check gait. With the restricted number of patients being seen due to self-imposed in-office sterilization protocols, he has more time with each individual.
“Another thing that I do is see if he can get out of a lower chair without using his arms,” he says. “I want to see where he functionally stumbles. Does he have to put his left arm down first? Based on that, I can kind of evaluate where he is in his physical activity and his baseline strength.”
Based on a physical assessment, Dr. Chilukuri then devises a treatment plan to address the identified issue(s).
“Typically, I'll schedule two treatment sessions per week in that particular area, and I space that a minimum of two days apart …just like we would normally do at the gym,” Dr. Chilukuri says. “I perform a treatment series of four over two weeks, and I wait about two weeks to see what kind of changes that the patient is able to describe to me.”
For smaller muscles, he spaces out his treatments to once a week for four weeks.
“If we're doing smaller muscle groups… I'm going to recommend once a week because I want to make sure that we hit that muscle properly, ideally activating that muscle,” he says. “We're performing what's called a supramaximal contraction. That means this machine fully contracts 96% to 100% of that muscle, much more than is normally possible using our brain function.”
Unlike using the muscle toning device for aesthetic purposes, maintenance is not required for functional treatments once the weak area has been rehabbed enough so that the patient can continue strengthening the area in other ways.
“If you want to have those six-pack abs and stay ripped up all the time, sure, we have several people that come once a month… just to enhance what they're already doing at the gym,” he says. “But in terms of the functional aspect, most times once we get them to where they're strong enough, and they're able to get back to the gym safely, they're going to continue that protocol at the gym rather than coming back to me.”
Dr. Chilukuri describes treating a female patient with a limp in her late 40s with the technology.
“We had one lady who had such severe compression of her spine on one side that her left leg was fully atrophied,” he says. “Once the neurosurgeon fixed the actual root of the cause, I then said, ‘you know what, I can help you.’ After the fourth session of Emsculpt, she was significantly improved. Now she wants to maintain that because she saw that she was stronger on not just the leg that had been injured originally, but it was stronger than the one that had never been injured.”
Dr. Chilukuri takes an educational approach to marketing the functional uses of muscle-stimulating technology, uploading testimonials and videos onto the flat screen TVs in his practice. Videos show the effect of body toning technologies on the muscle wall, and 3D hologram technology illustrates how the muscles are activated.
Dr. Chilukuri freely admits that if it wasn’t for conversations arising from COVID-19 shutdowns and an inability for many to get in their daily workouts, this wouldn’t be something he would have ventured into. For wellness physicians, however, he says, there will be an easy crossover when talking with patients about obesity and health.