Electrical stimulation is a type of physical therapy modality or treatment used to accomplish various tasks in physical therapy (PT). The idea is that applying an electrical current helps strengthen muscles, block pain signals, and improve blood circulation.
Electrical stimulation is the use of electrical impulses to make the muscles contract or to provide pain relief. Electrodes (usually small pads with a gentle adhesive on one side) are attached to the surface of the skin and connected to a small device that generates impulses. Electrical stimulation might also be referred to as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), electrostimulation, EMS, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), TNS, Interferential current therapy, ICT, or IFC.
Types of Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation research will lead you to discover a lot of names, abbreviations, and acronyms, including:
- Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS)
- Russian electrical stimulation
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
- Functional electrical stimulation (FES)
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- and many more…
Electric stimulation works by mimicking the natural way by which the body exercises its muscles. The electrodes attached to the skin deliver impulses that make the muscles contract.
Electrical stimulation is an effective therapeutic option for individuals suffering from pain and weakness. Below are some of the benefits clients may experience:
- Decrease pain
- Muscle re-education and Strengthening
- Increase range of motion
- Increase circulation
- Decrease spasticity
- Reduce edema
- Decrease inflammation
- Improve overall function