What is Electrotherapy?

Electrotherapy has been around for hundreds of years to alleviate pain for a variety of conditions. Over the past couple decades, electrotherapy has been used more conventionally in rehab to increase blood flow, stimulate muscles, speed healing, and reduce pain.

How does Electrotherapy work?

A mild electrical current is applied to the area where you are experiencing pain, and when the pulse reaches the affected area, the pain receptors are blocked and your body is “distracted” from the pain thus providing some comfort. This is sometimes referred to as your Pain Gate.

The treatment is typically administered using a small electronic device that is connected to the area of pain on your body using wires and suctions or sticky pads. Small currents are then passed from the device to your body through the pads.

There are several types of electrotherapy that are used with the most common modalities being:

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

  • Small currents of TENS are transmitted in pulses to stimulate the surface of the skin and nerve endings. This creates a pain gate.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

  • Low voltage currents are used to stimulate and cause muscle contractions.

Interferential Therapy

  • Works similarly to TENS but treatment is delivered at a higher intensity.

High Voltage Pulsed Galvanic Stimulator (HVPGS)

  • High voltage pulses are delivered in short intervals to stimulate deep tissues.

Microcurrent Stimulation

  • Very small electrical currents are used to help heal soft tissues and relieve pain.

What conditions can be treated using Electrotherapy?

Electrotherapy is used to treat some of the following conditions:

  • Weakened motor control
  • Neuromuscular dysfunction
  • Poor blood flow
  • Reads muscle atrophy
  • Poor joint mobility
  • Damaged tissue
  • Edema
  • Iontophoresis
  • Urine and fecal incontinence

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