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Whether you’re recovering from an injury or dealing with chronic pain, you may benefit from a physical therapy procedure called electrical stimulation, or e-stim.
E-stim sends mild electrical pulses through the skin to help stimulate injured muscles or manipulate nerves to reduce pain.
E-stim may not be appropriate for everyone (for example, if you have a pace maker), but for many people this painless procedure accelerates recovery and provides relief from painful or uncomfortable symptoms.
Types of stimulation
- Interferential current (IFC) stimulates nerves to reduce pain. A soft rhythmic contraction is felt, often described as a massage. Using a low frequency can reduce spasm and tension, while a high frequency can reduce pain responses.
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) stimulates the nerves in muscles to restore function and strength, prevent muscle atrophy, and reduce muscle spasms.
- Lontophoresis helps deliver medication to tissue to help speed up healing.
- Transcutaneus electrical muscular stimulation (TENS) may be used for chronic (long-term) pain as well as for acute (short-term) pain. Electrodes are placed on the skin over the source of the pain. Signals are sent through nerve fibers to block or at least reduce the pain signals traveling to the brain.
- Hi Volt Galvanic stimulation (HVG) is a uni-direction current with two specific benefits. One is to reduce muscle spasms by pushing acids away from an area involved. The second main purpose is to reduce swelling in soft tissues by pushing water associated with inflammation away from an area.
What to expect during electrical stimulation
- Electrodes are placed around the site receiving therapy.
- The electrical current will begin on a low setting and increase gradually.
- You will get a tingly, “pins and needles” feeling at
- Depending on the type of e-stim, you may feel a muscle twitch or contract repeatedly.
- Each e-stim therapy session may last 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the condition being treated.
- This treatment is often accompanied by a moist heat or an ice pack.
- Increased circulation
- Relaxing muscles
- Removing inflammation
- Reduce muscle spasms
- Tissue healing
- Increased tissue extensibility
- Reduced pain
- Reduced muscle tone
Common Injuries treated:
- Muscle strains
- Muscle tears
- Muscle spasms
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Post surgical conditions
- Fracture healing
- Joint contractures
- Acute inflammation
- Chronic inflammation
- Adhesive Capsulitis
- Ligament sprains
- CRPS (RSD)
- Joint swelling
- Periarticular conditions
- And other musculoskeletal conditions