Electronic stimulation is a modality used by Physical Therapists that uses electrical pulses to accelerate injury recovery, to improve muscle function and strength, and to manage pain, especially for patients who don’t respond well to traditional methods of pain management. E-stim can be used to treat a host of conditions and injuries, including: back pain, joint pain, arthritis, muscle injuries, poor muscle strength, spinal cord injuries, and strokes.
What to Expect
Electrodes (small sticky pads) are placed on the skin at the site of the area receiving treatment. Those electrodes are connected to a machine by wires, which deliver electrical pulses to the body. Patients may feel tingling at the treatment sight and, depending on the type of e-stim, may also feel muscles twitching.
E-stim used to treat muscle spasms or for pain relief does not require patients to actively participate. E-stim used to improve muscle strength or function may require the patient to actively contract muscles during treatment.
Sessions last around 10-15 minutes. Patients may need multiple sessions to start to feel the positive effects, depending on the severity of their illness or injury.
Common Types of E-Stim
Electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS, is a type of e-stim that targets muscles. Electrical pulses are sent to the affected area and cause the muscles to contract, which increases blood flow to the area and helps to heal injuries.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as TENS, is another popular form of e-stim. Pulses on a different wavelength target nerves and can block pain receptors from being sent to the brain, which helps with pain management.
Iontophoresis is another type of e-stim used to push medicine through the skin and into the body using an electrical current.
The most common side effects of e-stim are irritation or burning at the treatment sight.
E-stim may be dangerous for patients with implanted medical devices and is not recommended. E-stim may be used to help with labor pain in some cases, but is generally not recommended for pregnant patients.
To find out if e-stim is right for you, contact the Vereen Center today!