Electrical stimulation is a safe and effective method of treatment that can provide pain relief and recovery for several conditions. A standard electrical stimulation device utilizes electrodes placed around the target treatment area on the body. The electrodes are then connected via wire leads to the unit, through which electricity can pass and ultimately interact with sensory and/or motor nerves.
How will Electrical Stimulation benefit me?
You will undergo a physiotherapy evaluation at your initial assessment, in addition to being asked questions about your current condition and medical history. From there, our licensed physiotherapists, at “BetterLife Physiotherapy”, can set up an individualized treatment plan, based on your specific needs. If your physiotherapist realizes that electrical stimulation is beneficial and appropriate for you, they will explain it in depth, and it will be incorporated into your treatment plan.
What am I supposed to feel?
The intensity of the electrical muscle stimulation or sensory nerve stimulation can be easily modified to the tolerance of each patient. Electrical stimulation contains a variety of different modes to stimulate the nerves in different ways. These modes all consist of different currents. The current will be dependent upon the nature of your condition and the severity of it. The different types of modes include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), interferential, pre-modulated, Russian, and symmetrical or asymmetrical bi-phasic.
Some patients report feeling a small sensation, such as a “tingly,” “prickly,” or “pins and needles” feeling. When used for muscle strengthening, It is an adjustable current intensity, meaning that we start with low intensity until the tingly sensation occurs and we can increase intensity accordingly without reaching pain or discomfort.
What should I experience from Electrical Stimulation?
One of the biggest reasons electrical stimulation is prescribed is for pain management. This modality can trigger an innate and completely natural analgesic effect. Electrical stimulation has a variety of other benefits, including:
- Decrease swelling
- Reduce muscle pain
- Increase local circulation
- Provide neuromuscular re-education
- Provide biofeedback
- Prevent or reverse muscle atrophy (or as called disuse atrophy following especially prolonged immobilization and disuse)
- Reduce, eliminate pain (both acute and chronic)
(A) Muscle and Nerve electrical stimulation (EMS or NMES)
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. It can be utilized as a muscle re-education/stimulation training tool; it could be used as a rehabilitation and preventive tool for people who are partially or totally immobilized. The application is generated by a device and is delivered through electrodes on the skin at the muscles being stimulated. The impulses mimic the action potential that comes from the central nervous system, causing the muscles to contract. Your physiotherapist, at “BetterLife Physiotherapy”, can progress with adding weights or different ways of resisting bands aiming to progress your muscle strength.
(B) Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
TENS is the use of electric current produced to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes as pain relief and improve circulation. The theory behind that is to stimulate the secretion of Endorphin which relieves pain, or which is called the (gate theory) that the electrical stimulation occupies the (gait) of pain transmission and pain is not
perceived as intense as before. TENS describe the kind of pulses produced by portable stimulators used to reduce pain. The unit is usually connected to the skin using two or more electrodes, with a wide variety of sizes and shapes, which are either with typically conductive gel or adhesive pads. Your physiotherapist, at “BetterLife Physiotherapy”, can incorporate TENS to your treatment program as needed.
(C) Vacuum Interferential Current (IFC) Therapy
The basic principle of Interferential current (IFC) Therapy is to utilize the significant physiological effects of electrical stimulation of the nerves without the associated painful and unpleasant side effects. The interferential current (IFC) can penetrate deeper into the tissue. Interferential therapy is widely used to reduce swelling, relieve pain, improve microcirculation, and stimulate muscle. Interferential applies two different frequencies that interfere with one another to produce a medium frequency current within the tissues.
Benefits and Clinical Application:
There are 4 main clinical applications for which IFC Therapy appears to be used:
- Deep Pain Relief
- Muscle stimulation
- Increased local blood flow
- Reduction of edema/swelling
- Reduction of muscle spasm
When do we use Interferential?
After a thorough and comprehensive assessment, your physiotherapist, at “BetterLife Physiotherapy ”, may discuss with you the benefits/risks of IFC and can choose to add IFC to your treatment protocol, if appropriate, for different therapeutic purposes from pain relief to improve circulation.
At “BetterLife Physiotherapy”, we chose to provide our patients with the most recent, highly advanced/computerized, and top line IFC machine in the market (Gymna) with connected suction cups to maximize the benefits and results. When you visit us, at “BetterLife Physiotherapy”, for the first time, let us show you our up-to-date machine with a detailed relevant explanation and you can compare us with others.