Electrical Stimulation Therapy
Electrical stimulation therapy is used for pain control, muscle relaxation and nerve re-education, and is applied in physiotherapy, sports medicine, home health care and occupational medicine. It helps to reduce pain and inflammation associated with low back pain, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, joint stiffness, and recovery from surgery. Electrical stimulation is also used as "passive exercize" to strengthen atrophied muscles in those with paralysis or who live sedentary lives.
Electrical stimulation therapy stimulates affected muscles, as "passive exercize", using an electrical current similar to the electrical impulses produced by the brain to stimulate muscle tissue during "active exercize". Two or more electrode-containing pads are placed on the affected muscles, and are stimulated by the signals to contract and relax in a rhythm you determine using the device's settings. The more normal contractions achieved with use of EMS units cause chemical changes in the muscle tissue which restore normal use nutrients stored there. Circulation of blood and removal of cell wastes in the area are also improved.
Different types of electrical stimulation therapies are used, according to the depth of muscle tissue being worked with. Lower voltage therapies such as those using TENS devices are used to reduce the pain sensation by blocking the pain signal and increasing production of the body's natural pain-fighting substances, and can be done at home as needed. Those involving practitioner application of higher voltage stimulation, as from Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) devices, used to treat the causes of the pain, require a series of clinic visits to gain long-term improvement. EMS is used to treat muscle atrophy, post-surgically to prevent blood clots in the lower legs, in intense muscle spasm, to increase range of motion, and for circulation problems in specific areas. EMS devices use a wide range of voltages, and include: low and high voltage direct current, low and high voltage alternating current, interferential, H-wave, and microcurrent units .