If you suffer an injury, a healthcare provider can recommend physical therapy to help you recover. It may involve various treatments, including electrical stimulation or e-stim. This form of therapy is notable for its use of electrical currents to improve blood circulation, strengthen muscles, and block pain signals.
If you are recovering from an injury, your physical therapist may recommend e-stim therapy as part of your rehab program. During therapy, expect to receive electrical currents to reduce pain and improve movement.
The technique can provide an inflammation solution. It is effective for reducing spasms or pain and improving muscle function. E-stim is usually a passive therapy where the patient remains inactive during the treatment.
Several health conditions can be treated using e-stim. They include postsurgical pain, lower back pain, and tendonitis. It is also used to treat bursitis, poor motor control or muscle weakness, and stubborn wounds.
Most rehab programs involve active participation, unlike e-stim that requires patients to remain relaxed. Physical therapists provide e-stim for people with various injuries or health conditions.
Before getting e-stim therapy, your therapist will explain the procedure, including the risks and benefits. The treatment can last anywhere between five to 15 minutes. During the procedure:
Electrodes are placed on the area that needs treatment. The electrodes are connected to an e-stim machine.
Patients experience a tingling sensation during treatment.
The therapist will increase the sensation until it is strong but comfortable.
If the e-stim is to provide pain relief or treat muscle spasms, the patient will remain relaxed during therapy.
If the therapy aims to improve muscular function or strength, the patient may need to contract or squeeze the muscles. It is done while the machine is on.
E-stim therapy may be slightly uncomfortable, but it should never be painful.
There are various types of e-stim. The physical therapist may use different techniques to accomplish various tasks. The types include:
Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS)
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)
Interferential Current (IFC)
High-Voltage Galvanic Current (HVGC)
While most e-stim forms are passive, there are others that require some activity. Examples are Russian stim and NMES.
While it may be effective for treating various conditions, e-stim should not be used alone. It should be part of a rehab program that includes other physical activities. Some risks associated with the therapy include muscle tearing, tissue burns, and skin irritation.
The physical therapist should immediately stop the treatment if the patient experiences discomfort. Proper use of e-stim will help reduce risks. E-stim is not for everyone. Patients with changes in tissue sensation and implanted electrical devices should not get it.
The treatment should not be used on malignant tissues, very moist wounds, and areas near the eyes or reproductive organs. The therapist will evaluate the patient’s condition to determine their suitability for e-stim.
For more on e-stim, what it is, how it works, and why it may help you, visit San Diego Pain and Rehab at our San Diego, California office. Call (619) 313-6300 to schedule an appointment today.