Electrotherapy is the most popular therapy that is used in physical therapy and rehabilitation. Electrotherapy uses an electrical machine to deliver electrical impulses to a patient’s body for facilitating muscle healing and tissue regeneration. Other rehabilitation practitioners can also use it because of its plenty of therapeutic benefits.
Electrotherapy is a physical therapy treatment in which electro-pads are placed on the skin for electrical stimulation to nerves and muscle-motor fibers. There are different types of electrotherapeutic devices that physiotherapists use for the treatments. Different electrotherapy is used for different ailments such as relaxing muscle spasms, preventing atrophy, increasing blood circulation, maintaining and increasing range of motion, as well as managing chronic pain in your back or spine. If electrotherapy is applied accurately to the right type of ailment, this device may be a suitable and safe option.
Let us help you understand in-depth electrotherapy and its key benefits
Various types of electrotherapy treatments are available. Some of them involve electrode pads on the skin with the adhesive, and some forms use a transducer with gel to transmit specialized ultrasound waves into your body. Physiotherapists might use treatments that are mentioned below:
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Shockwave Therapy
- Therapeutic Ultrasound
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) uses small devices to deliver pulses of electrical stimulation to nerves to attain pain relief and is often used for both nerve pain and chronic pain conditions. TENS can be used to treat a list of common injuries that are as follows:
- Muscle strains
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Spinal pain
- Postoperative pain
In physiotherapy, Therapeutic ultrasound uses a strong heating effect on muscles, ligaments, and tendons to stimulate the healing process and circulation. This electrotherapy makes use of a transducer and is often used to treat strains, tendonitis, and knee meniscus tears.
In this electrotherapy treatment, a small quantity of gel is applied to the patient’s injured area and move into a circular motion with the help of an ultrasound transducer throughout the treatment. During the procedure, the piezoelectric waves are released from the ultrasound transducer and enter the injured area’s tissues. The deep heating of the soft tissues will cause a spike in circulation, aids the overall healing process, and reduces any pain or tightness.
Interferential electrotherapy is also known as IFT, uses low-frequency electrical stimulation to stimulate muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce pain. IFT is used sometimes for patients who might not like TENS electrotherapy. In order to produce low-frequency effects, patients can experience uneasiness in the superficial tissue due to the impedance of the skin is inversely proportional to the frequency of the stimulation—fewer frequency results in more impedance to the passage of the current. Therefore, the discomfort increases. However, when you are given higher frequency, it will pass more through the skin, which requires less electrical energy that reaches to the deeper tissue and lessen the discomfort. Interferential therapy uses two medium frequency currents that pass through the tissues and set up their paths to interfere with each other to increase the frequency hence lower the discomfort.
This form of therapy is also extremely useful for the following problems:
- It decreases swelling and inflammation.
- It reduces or eliminates pain safely.
- It stimulates the natural hormones that help your body heal faster.
- Improves restricted movements and coordination
- It is an effective form of therapy for chronic pain.
Electroacupuncture uses two needles with an electric current that passes between different target organs or bodily systems. Mild electric current transfers between these needles during the treatment using acupoints and hand manipulation techniques. Experts use electrotherapy to treat health issues such as arthritis, pain, stress, chemotherapy-related nausea and tinnitus, etc.
In TCM, your health depends on the movement of energy that travels along invisible pathways. Energy keeps your body balanced and promotes its natural ability to heal itself. However, a block in the flow of energy can have an adverse reaction to health. And for this, electroacupuncture helps the points connected to symptoms to improve the flow of energy. With the help of two needles, the machine stimulates electrical impulses into the tissues. Electroacupuncture helps increase the potential healing effects of standard acupuncture. It is mainly used to treat chemotherapy side effects and acute pain.
Shockwave therapy is mostly used in physiotherapy that uses much lower energy in medical applications. It is used for musculoskeletal conditions that involve connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. This type of treatment is a great tool to treat chronic tendinopathy, which hasn’t responded to other treatments; these include tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, jumpers knee, Achilles, rotator cuff, plantar fasciitis, calcific tendinitis of the shoulder. These could be as a consequence of sport, overuse, or repetitive strain.
A physiotherapist assesses your condition to confirm that you are an appropriate patient for shockwave therapy. Based on your condition, a professional physiotherapist guide you on what type of activity and exercise you need to do and assess other issues such as muscle stiffness and posture, etc. In shockwave therapy, acoustic waves with high energy that uses transducer with gel to treat conditions. This treatment helps stimulate collagen production and reduce inflammation in the body. It’s also very useful for plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and Achilles tendinopathy.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
EMS targets muscle tissue instead of nerves because it stimulates your motor neurons, which cause your muscles to contract to treat and prevent muscle atrophy. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is a protocol that elicits muscle contraction using electrical impulses. It directly stimulates your motor neurons sending electrical impulses from your brain through your central nervous system (CNS). EMS offers traditional strength training to improve the strength parameters and motion abilities of a sportsman. Electrotherapy is mainly advised for people undergoing physical therapy. It mitigates pain and enables an individual to do targeted exercises.
How does electrotherapy work?
Electrotherapy uses small electrodes sticky pads placed on the skin to treat the defective area. The steady streams of electrical pulses are transferred through the wires and block the pain signal from reaching the spinal cord and brain. For muscular stimulation, the pulses will reach the muscles, signaling them to produce more natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.
Why is electrotherapy used?
Electrotherapy is used for many reasons; for instance, administer medication for inflammation, contract muscles that are weak or not functioning, help decrease pain or spasm. In some cases, electrotherapy is used to help treat stubborn wounds. You can concern with physiotherapists for getting electrotherapy treatments. Electrical stimulation is a relatively passive modality that needs active participation, and learning the right movements and exercises is the best way to improve the condition.
Does Electrotherapy treatment work?
Researchers have found that electrotherapy is highly effective for treating depression, severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Although ECT can be very efficient for many individuals with serious mental illness, it needs to continue with some maintenance treatment type. It is also used in treating individuals with catatonia that can seriously injure themselves or develop severe dehydration from not eating or drinking. Electrotherapy is also used for people who require a rapid treatment response because of their severity.
Benefits of Electrotherapy in Physiotherapy Treatments
Reduce nerve pain
People who experience nerve pain can experience numbness, tingling, burning, muscle weakness, etc. In nerve pain cases, a physiotherapist uses a TENS machine to target and reduce nerve pain by interfering with the pain signals your body transmits.
Promote healing of musculoskeletal injuries
Some electrotherapy, like shockwave therapy treatment, is used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. This type of electrotherapy reduces pain and increases blood flow to an injured area for stimulating the healing process.
Arthritis causes pain, swelling in the joints, stiffness, and is of different types: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. More people suffer from osteoarthritis because of the wear and tear of the cartilage that protects them from injuries and stress. Osteoarthritis is caused by joint injuries, age, obesity, etc., and affects your hips, knees, spine, and feet.
Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, which results in severe joint damage; however, physiotherapists use several treatment methods to ease pain; this treatment is safe and effective for arthritis pain.
Prevent muscle atrophy
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is a form of electrotherapy that prevents muscle atrophy. It occurs when muscles waste away due to lack of physical activity and make it impossible to move limbs. When muscles get damaged due to injury, illness, this can lead to muscle atrophy. This kind of damage or injury not only restricts movement but impacts your health. Fortunately, electrotherapy, specifically electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), helps prevent atrophy by stimulating muscles to contract.
Electrical muscle transmits pulses through your skin to decrease discomfort and ease aching. EMS activates muscle contraction by using electrical impulses to reduce swelling, pain, strengthen weak muscles, and effectively treat muscle atrophy.
Sports injuries occur when participating in any sports and don’t warm up properly before training. Sports injury has two various forms: acute and chronic pain.
An acute injury occurs when you walk awkwardly on your ankle and get a sprain. On the other hand, chronic injuries occur due to overuse of specific joints or muscle groups and structural abnormalities or poor technique.
If you experience any type of sports injuries, you might visit the electrotherapy center in Gurgaon. Ultrasound, TENS, and interferential therapy are the most common electrotherapy treatments used for sports injuries. However, ultrasound is the most common treatment applied to the injured part that absorbs energy to increase blood flow, less stiffness, and pain relief. That’s why electrotherapy treatment has a great potential to accelerate healing for a sports injury.
Interferential therapy uses mild electrical waves to excite the nerves to create a physiological response. When paired with ultrasound to ease joint stiffness, swelling, pain, and increase blood flow, this treatment works better. TENS is used for pain relief, promotes relaxation, and activates the production of endorphins.
Back pain is one of the most prevalent problems that disable you from doing certain works. Medical conditions, strain, poor posture, kidney problems, osteoporosis, arthritis, and sciatica can cause back pain. TENS is one of the most used therapies for various conditions, such as back pain. Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy is another useful alternative of TENS.
If you are experiencing chronic pain or musculoskeletal injury, electrotherapy is a great way to alleviate pain. When electrotherapy applies through electro-pads placed, the intensity increases, the patient will feel a tingling sensation that will evoke a deep massage if the device is being used to penetrate and treat the muscles. IFC, TENS, and GS can be used in-home because all are powered by batteries and help reduce your risk of side effects and reduce your injury. It is best to consult with physiotherapists prior to use. They help you try to use the device to see which intensity works best and explain safety guidelines. Electrotherapy is used in physical therapy and can also be used by other rehabilitation practitioners because of its numerous therapeutic benefits. For instance, relaxation of muscle spasms, prevention, and cessation of muscular atrophy due to disuse, improves local blood circulation and flow, prevention of deep vein thrombosis post-surgery, etc.
Whether treating acute injuries or chronic pain, physiotherapists can treat many diverse patient conditions with the help of electrotherapy without complications or side effects. Moreover, electrotherapy has portable units that patients can use in home and office settings. It provides them with a therapeutic alternative to traditional oral pain medications. These benefits make electrotherapy one of the most effective physical therapy modalities that treat every ailment and reduce pain. To ensure you receive meticulous care from experienced professionals, you can visit electrotherapy centers in Gurgaon for electrotherapy treatment.