What is Electrical Stimulation
Electrical Stimulation is a safe and effective modality that can be used to treat a variety of conditions. It uses a beneficial effect of low-level electric current on the human body to help stimulate injured muscles or calm the nerves to reduce pain and inflammation.
Conditions treated with electrical stimulation
- back and neck pain
- joint pain
- muscle conditioning (mostly for athletes, such as long-distance runners)
- muscle injury from trauma or disease
- inflammation of nerves
- poor muscle strength
- spinal cord injury
- surgery recovery
Types of electrical stimulation used in physical therapy
Pain relieving electrical stimulation – most often used to treat back, neck, shoulder and knee pain. Small electrodes are placed on the skin to help stimulate the nerves to block the transmission of pain signals from reaching the spinal cord and brain. The pulses also stimulate the body to produce our own natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.
Electrical stimulation to strengthen muscles – Russian current that we use is a form of high-frequency electrical wave stimulation that causes controlled muscle contractions to help strengthen the part of the patient’s body that got weak due to surgery or long immobilization after injury.
Iontophoresis – used to deliver medication (anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving) through the skin directly to painful areas. Iontophoresis has been successfully used to treat tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis, heel spurs and gout to name a few. We also use iontophoresis to help treat the symptoms of Hyperhidrosis – a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably.
What to expect during electrical stimulation treatment?
The standard electrical stimulation device utilizes self-adhesive electrodes placed around the targeted area of the body. These electrodes are connected via wire leads to the unit. Depending on the type of e-stim, you may feel a muscle twitch or contract repeatedly. Each e-stim therapy session lasts for around 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the condition being treated. Application of electrical impulses may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it should never hurt as the intensity of the current is always adjusted to the patient’s comfort level.