Electrical stimulation is a type of physical therapy modality used to accomplish various tasks in physical therapy. If you have an injury or illness that causes pain or limited functional mobility, we may use electrical stimulation, or E-stim, as one small part of your rehabilitation program.
Conditions in which electrical stimulation is used may include:
• low back pain
• post-surgical pain
• muscle weakness or poor motor control
If you are experiencing pain, spasm, inflammation, or muscular weakness, your PT may use this versatile modality as part of your treatment.
Types of electric stimulation that we might use:
Interferential current (IFC) is often used to decrease pain, inflammation, and muscular spasms, or to improve localized blood flow to various muscles or tissues. It is often used to decrease low back pain and muscular spasms. Interferential current typically uses four electrodes in a crisscross pattern. This causes the currents running between the electrodes to “interfere” with one another, and allows your physical therapist to use a higher intensity current while still maintaining maximum comfort for you.
Neuromuscular Electric Stimulation (NMES) :
NMES uses an electrical current to cause a single muscle or a group of muscles to contract. By placing electrodes on the skin in various locations, we can recruit the appropriate muscle fibers. Contracting the muscle via electrical stimulation helps improve the way the affected muscle contracts. We can change the current setting to allow for a forceful or gentle muscle contraction. Along with increasing muscle function, the contraction of the muscle also promotes blood flow to the area that assists in healing. NMES can also be used to help decrease
Transcutaneous electrical neuromuscular stimulation (TENS) is a physical therapy modality used to manage acute and chronic pain in physical therapy. Your physical therapist will use TENS to decrease your pain by applying electrodes to your body over painful areas. The intensity of the electricity will be adjusted to block the pain signals traveling from your body to your brain.
Iontophoresis is a type of electrical stimulation that is used to help administer medication to you in physical therapy. The electrical current pushes medication into your body through a patch on your skin. Your physical therapist will likely use iontophoresis to decrease inflammation or muscle spasm, or to break up calcium deposits that may occur in conditions like shoulder calcific tendonitis. Different medicines are used to accomplish different goals using iontophoresis.