What is PoNS™? Ask a Physio!

ALPHA Health Services is proud to announce that we will now be offering the PoNS Treatment Program at our ALPHA East Location!

What is PoNS? 

PoNS stands for Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator. It is a device consisting of a mouthpiece and controller, that was designed to provide mild electrical stimulation to the surface of the tongue to facilitate the creation of new pathways in your brain and promote neuroplasticity.

How does it work? 

The PoNS device and treatment method is grounded in the theory of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is “the brain’s ability to reorganize itself, allowing the cells in the brain to compensate for injury and disease”. This takes place through sprouting of new nerve endings to re-connect those that may be injured. The tongue has neural connections (Trigeminal Nerve, and Facial Nerve) to the brainstem and cerebellum, thus stimulation on the tongue excites a natural flow of neural impulses to these areas.

PoNS Treatment Training Program combines neurostimulation with targeted therapeutic activities and is intended to enhance neuroplasticity by re-training mind-body interconnections. It is currently supported by research to be used as a treatment approach for chronic balance and gait dysfunction in individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate TBI and/or mild to moderate symptoms as a result of Multiple Sclerosis.

What does the PoNS Treatment Program look like?

Our therapists are Certified PoNS™ Trainers and will guide patients through the comprehensive 14-week program. The first 2 weeks are completed at the clinic, and the next 12 weeks are completed at home, with weekly in-clinic visits with our certified PoNS Trainers to progress your treatment program and continue to work towards goal achievement.

Screening and Baseline Assessment 

  • To start the process all patients receive a free 15-minute phone consultation, as an opportunity to discuss some of the important elements of the treatment program (length of program, cost, commitment etc.)
  • If the program is appropriate, a 1-hour in person consultation will be scheduled to complete a detailed patient history and intake
  • Once the clinic has confirmed the patient’s eligibility for the program and the deposit has been received, patients perform a comprehensive set of assessments to capture and document their functional status prior to treatment. (Completed over 1-2 sessions)

Stage 1: In-Clinic Training (Week 1 and 2)

  •  The patient will learn how to use the PoNS device during their first appointment with their PoNS Trainer
  • Daily training sessions (warm-up, balance training, gait training, movement control exercises, and breathing and awareness training
    • one in the morning (1.5 hours) – IN CLINIC
    • one in the afternoon (1 hour) – IN CLINIC
    • and one in the evening (20 minutes) – AT HOME
  • In clinic appointments are usually 90 minutes in length, during which time the device in the patient’s mouth for 40-60 minutes
  • For days 1, 2, and 3 of week 1, patients will complete their morning and afternoon sessions at the clinic with a PoNS Trainer
  • The evening BAT session is to be completed at home.
  •  For days 4 and 5 of week 1, and days 1-5 of week 2, patients will complete one training session (morning or afternoon) in clinic with a PoNS Trainer, and one training session at home. All BAT evening sessions are to be completed at home.
  • For one weekend day of their choice, patients will complete all sessions at home, and the other weekend day will be a rest day. The program is to be completed 6 days per week.

Stage 2: Home Training Program (Week 3 – Week 14)

  • Patients will complete all daily training sessions at home, except for once a week when they will return to the clinic to work with their PoNS Trainer to progress their program. This in-clinic session will take approximately 1.5 hours.
  • A modified version of the assessments is recommended at weeks 4 and 8 as a checkpoint.
  • At the end of week 14 (end of PoNS Treatment), the battery of assessments is completed again to track patient progress

For more information about the PoNS Treatment Program or to find out if you or someone you know may benefit from this service, please contact our East End location!

By Kristen Blair
Registered Physiotherapist, Certified PoNS Trainer
Book with Kristen

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