Electric Therapy

A time tested therapy utilized in the active treatment of musculoskeletal injuries & rehabilitative care.

How can electric therapy help me?

When a musculoskeletal injury occurs different forms of electric therapy can be applied near the injured tissue depending on the nature of the injury and desired effect. The doctor can modify the electrical current in order to achieve many different outcomes.

The effect an electric therapy treatment has on injured tissue is determined by the specific set of frequencies and the power settings that have been shown to illicit the desired response. Depending on the type of electric therapy prescribed by our doctor you can expect some of the following effects.

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Pain Reduction

Electric Therapy is very well known for its ability to modulate pain signals originating in damaged injured tissues. Certain types of electric therapies are better at affecting the sensory nerve fibers better then other types of electric therapy. Listed below are some of the most commonly used electronic therapies utilized for reducing pain.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation - TENS

When pain reduction is the primary goal the preferred (e-stim) therapy is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). TENS Therapy utilizes a specific wavelength that penetrates the skin and disrupts the pain signals traveling from sensory nerve endings in the injured tissue. Electric current safe pads are applied near the affected area and then SLOWLY and SAFELY the current will increase to a comfortable intensity. The treatment can last from 10 to 30 minutes. Our doctor can prescribe a portable TENS device that you can wear discretely and use between treatments at home or at work.

High Voltage Stimulation - High voltage Pulsed Galvanic Stimulation

This method of pain reduction uses DC current to stimulate injured areas. This form of electric stimulation is most commonly performed around areas that suffer hemorrhage of blood or increased swelling. An alternative to TENS therapy is High Voltage Stimulation. This is sometimes a more intense treatment reducing pain around the damaged tissues. High voltage stimulation has surged in popularity in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and neuropathies of the feet and hands as complications of diabetes.

Muscle Spasm Relief

Muscle stimulation is another form of electric therapy that can specifically treat muscular issues like muscle spasm or disuse atrophy (loss of muscle). This type of electric stimulation produces a strong enough current to cause small contractions deep within injured or atrophied muscles. This ability to contract and then relax the muscles has been found to have therapeutic uses in the treatment of muscles stuck in spasm and increase local circulation of fluids. This allows any tissue debris to be taken away from the site of injury and to allow fresh nutrient rich fluid to nourish the healing tissues. Disuse atrophy or loss of muscle is often a secondary complaint following any injury. Due to limited movement and force applied on the affected muscles during the healing process, often the muscles become weak. Utilizing these specific forms of electric therapy can reduce the recovery time of injuries and allow the injury to heal with less muscle loss.

Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

Muscle Spasms

EMS therapy is a specific kind of electric therapy that has been optimized to stimulate the nerves that cause contraction of muscle fibers. This therapy can target small injured muscle fibers deep within the muscle. This specific kind of therapy differs from TENS therapy in that it is designed to cause contraction of the muscle fibers whereas TENS targets sensory nerve fibers (pain fibers). When applied to TENS, sharp, unrelenting muscle spasms, EMS therapy allows the muscle to relax by depleting its supply of acetylcholine - (the neuro-transmitter that is released by our nerves to cause muscle contraction/spasm). This temporary depletion of neurotransmitter allows our doctor to apply additional therapies that would otherwise cause increased pain and spasms. This is a good thing! By applying electric therapy before chiropractic adjustments this allows the tight musculature adjustment, often associated with subluxations, to be delivered easier and often times with less force. This allows for a more pleasant and comfortable experience.

Improved Circulation

With a soft tissue injury symptoms include inflammation, swelling and if left untreated; cellular debris. Cellular debris is composed of fragments of torn tissue and cells that have exploded due to the increase of fluid pressure (swelling) brought to the damaged area. Electric therapy can effectively pump swelling and debris away from the injury and allow for fresh nutrient rich fluid to saturate the healing tissue. Some of our circulation system depends on muscle contraction and relaxation to force fluid back to our heart for re-circulation. By rhythmically causing contraction, followed by a period of brief relaxation we can artificially recreate the naturally occurring pump mechanism around injured areas that has not been allowing proper movement due to swelling.

Interferential Stimulation

Interferential electric therapy also known as (IF) is a special type of TENS that is coordinated in a way that causes a rhythmic contraction around injured tissue to increase the circulation of interstitial fluids that often build up following an injury. Interferential stimulation alternates between two specific currents creating sensation that seemingly moves around the injured area. (IF) treatment is a very common treatment to accompany chiropractic care. Its unique ability to pump fluid away from irritated soft tissue around the spine compliments the chiropractic adjustment very well.

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