Physical Therapy: Electrical Stimulation Treatment

Whether you’re recovering from an injury or recovering from surgery, it’s possible that your doctor may recommend an electrical stimulation treatment as part of your physical therapy. E-stim, or electrical stimulation treatment, is widely used in many physical therapy treatment procedures today. It’s safe, relatively comfortable, and effective.

We’ll take a closer look at the electrical stimulation treatment for physical therapy to help you better understand the ins and outs of this type of treatment.

What is Electrical Stimulation Therapy?

Electrical stimulation is a modality in physical therapy that physical therapists widely use for pain relief. By using gentle but effective electrical currents, this type of therapy stimulates recovery to speed up the healing process. E-Stim can help improve functional mobility, reduce pain, and ease muscle spasm to help individuals heal after surgery or injury. Electrical stimulation can be an especially useful addition to your already-prescribed rehabilitation plan.

When Would I Need Electrical Stimulation?

Electrical stimulation is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Poor muscle control
  • Muscle weakness
  • Postsurgical pain
  • Sports related injuries
  • Lower back pain
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • General pain

Why Does My Physical Therapist Want to Use Electrical Stimulation?

Physical therapists may want to incorporate electrical stimulation into your rehab plan for a variety of reasons including:

  • To help decrease spasm or pain
  • To contract muscles that are not functioning well or are weak
  • To treat or help manage inflammation

Another unique way that some physical therapists are integrating electrical stimulation into their treatment remedies is through wound treatment. There has been some evidence to show that certain wounds may heal quicker or accept medication better with the involvement of electrical stimulation therapy. While this research is preliminary and therefore still requires further investigation, it is important to ensure that all professionals administering such treatment consult with verified wound care specialists as well as physical therapists.

What Can I Expect With E-Stim?

Your physical therapists should explain the benefits and risks of an electrical stimulation treatment.  Here is an outline of how to prepare for your E-stim treatment, as well as what you can expect:

  • During the treatment, the area of the body that will be treated will be exposed.
  • Your physical therapist will apply electrodes to the skin of the affected area. These electrodes are connected by wires to an electrical stimulation machine.
  • Once the machine is turned on, you will feel a tingling sensation, such as pins and needles, which is usually strong but comfortable to your tolerance.  The entire treatment lasts 15-20 minutes. 
  • The treatment will be more effective when you relax as much as possible.

Not All Electrical Stimulation Treatments Are Alike

There are different types of electrical stimulation. They include:

  • HVGC (high-voltage galvanic current)
  • (IFC) Interferential current
  • Russian stimulation
  • NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation)
  • Iontophoresis
  • TENS or transcutaneous electrical neuromuscular stimulation

In combination with your physical therapist, your orthopedic physician/surgeon should decide which method of treatment is best for you.

Turn to Excel Physical Therapy for Electrical Stimulation Treatment

There is a myriad of treatments available for physical ailments. Injury recovery, successful surgery recuperation, treatment of chronic ailments, and other conditions require expert attention and the proper therapies for the best results.

If you are considering physical therapy electrical stimulation treatment, turn to the specialists at Excel Physical Therapy. Contact us today.

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