Find Fast Pain Relief With Electrical Stimulation
Did you know electrical stimulation therapy could help relieve your pain?
Electrical stimulation…aka ‘E-stim’. Sounds shocking, doesn’t it? Well, in some respects it is. Electrical stimulation is a general term for the application of various specific types of E-Stim, including Interferential Current (IFC), Russian stim, and Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) to list three of the more common types we use at Rose City Physical Therapy.
Electrical stimulation is a safe and effective method of treatment and through using specific parameters can provide pain relief, help manage swelling and inflammation at injured or post-surgical joints, reduce spasming muscles or increase strength in muscles inhibited due to injury or post-surgical immobility.
A standard electrical stimulation device utilizes adhesive electrodes placed around the target treatment area on the body. The electrodes are then connected via wire leads to the machine, through which electricity can pass and ultimately interact with sensory and/or motor nerves. Settings vary on the machine to allow specificity of treatment for the desired treatment effect.
Are you suffering from a painful injury or condition, joint swelling, or muscle spasms? If so, electrical stimulation may be helpful to “jump start” (pun intended) your care. Request an appointment with Rose City Physical Therapy in Portland, OR today to learn more.
What can I expect from an electrical stimulation session?
One of the biggest reasons electrical stimulation is prescribed is for pain management.
This modality can trigger an innate and completely natural analgesic effect by stimulating specific sensory nerve fibers in the body (for the physiology nerds, these include A-beta, A-delta, and C fibers). The electric impulses decrease the sensation of pain as well as releases neurotransmitters that prolong the pain-relieving effects.
Electrical stimulation has a variety of other benefits, including:
- Increase local circulation
- Reduce muscle spasm
- Reduce, eliminate, and/or control pain (both acute and chronic)
- Improve motor activation (muscle recruitment)
- Prevent or reverse muscle atrophy (especially after prolonged immobilization, such as a limb being casted as a fracture heals)
- Provide biofeedback (aka improve body awareness or specific muscle activation)
- Provide neuromuscular re-education
- Decrease swelling
However, electrical stimulation is not for everyone and there are contraindications. Those with deep vein thrombosis, are pregnant, have a pacemaker, and those with impaired cognition aren’t candidates for electrical stimulation.
Some of the most common conditions treated with electrical stimulation include:
- Acute sports-related, work-related, or auto accident-related injuries
- Ligament and joint capsule sprains or post-operative joint procedures where there is inflammation/swelling in the joint
- Muscle strains or spasms
- Repetitive stress injuries
Is electrical stimulation painful?
Electrical stimulation is not painful. Some patients report feeling a small sensation, such as a “tingly,” “prickly,” or “pins and needles” feeling. For certain types of electrical stim, patients in fact report it feeling good. When used for muscle strengthening, electrical stimulation can sometimes become a bit uncomfortable, but it should never result in pain. Lastly, the intensity of the electrical muscle stimulation or sensory nerve stimulation can be easily modified to the tolerance of each patient.
Electrical stimulation contains a variety of different modes to stimulate the nerves in different ways, each which will provide a different effect or outcome. These modes all consist of different currents, frequencies of current and intensities of the applied current. The current applied will be dependent upon the nature of your condition as well as the desired effect.
The different types of modes include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), interferential current (IFC) – used frequently post-operatively – pre-modulated current, Russian stim, and symmetrical or asymmetrical bi-phasic.
How can I benefit from electrical stimulation therapy?
At our Portland, OR physical therapy practice, our main priorities are your comfort, safety, and outcomes. After your initial physical examination, in addition to being asked questions about your current condition and medical history, our licensed physical therapists will create an individualized treatment plan, based on your specific needs.
If our physical therapist believes electrical stimulation will be beneficial to you, he or she will explain it in depth, and it will be incorporated into your treatment plan.
During the electrical stimulation portion of treatment, you’ll sit or lie down comfortably, your skin in the target treatment area will be cleaned to allow the adhesive electrodes to be applied and stay in place during the treatment, and your physical therapist will guide you step-by-step through the entire treatment. Again, most patients report relaxation or a feel-good sensation with electrical stimulation.
Find Relief for Your Pain Today!
If you are interested in learning more about electrical stimulation, or if you think it could benefit you, contact Rose City Physical Therapy today at Portland, OR to request an appointment.
We’ll get you started on the path toward pain relief and recovery!