The Ins and Outs of Electric Stimulation Therapy

October 1, 2021 7:22 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Sick of dealing with muscle spasms and pain? Many people are finding therapeutic relief from electric stimulation therapy, a technique that’s actually been used and refined over centuries. Today’s physical therapists harness electric stimulation technology to treat muscle problems and even maintain muscle tone and strength in patients with injuries. If you’re asking yourself “Will electric stimulation therapy help me?” read on to get a better idea of how electric stimulation therapy works as well as some of the potential benefits.

How does electric stimulation therapy work?

Electric stimulation therapy is performed by physical therapists in their office. It uses small electrodes placed on the skin using sticky pads, and the therapist will place them directly around a patient’s area of concern. Wires from the stimulation device are attached to the pads, and the therapist will direct a steady stream of electrical pulses through the wires.

As the pulses reach the muscles, it signals that they need to contract. Patients typically experience decreased pain as the pulses block transmission of pain signals from reaching both the spinal cord and the brain. Therapy sessions generally last from 5-15 minutes, and you might feel a tingly sensation and muscle twitches during the process.

There are two main forms of electronic stimulation

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): If you’re suffering from either long-term or short-term pain, TENS may be a good option for you. In this form of electronic stimulation, electrodes are placed directly on the skin near the pain source, and signals are sent through the nerves to stop pain signals from reaching the brain. A form of TENS called interferential current (IFC) can decrease inflammation and swelling, showing positive results in patients with conditions ranging from asthma to back pain.
  • Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS): EMS is a stronger form of electrostimulation therapy when compared to TENS, and it’s more effective at getting the muscles to contract. Electrodes are placed directly on the skin near affected muscles, and rhythmic contractions reduce pain signals sent to the brain. What makes EMS unique is that it can actually improve muscle strength if the patient contracts the muscle simultaneously with the pulses sent by the machine.

Will electric stimulation therapy help me?

Electric stimulation therapy can be extremely beneficial in treating a range of conditions that involve nerve and musculoskeletal pain. Depending on the troubles you’re having, you could feel relief even after just a single session. There are many conditions that electric stimulation therapy can treat. If you’re experiencing any of the following issues, talk with your doctor or physical therapist to determine whether this course of treatment could be right for you:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle injury
  • Nerve inflammation
  • Stroke
  • Surgery recovery

Still wondering whether electric stimulation therapy can help you? Reach out to a professional physical therapist who understands the uses and advantages of this beneficial therapy. Contact Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy and take the first step toward true relief today.

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