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Medical Conditions and Their Treatments with Electrotherapy

The use of electrical impulses during physiotherapy treatment can have a multitude of applications. While it sounds scary, electrotherapy has a multitude of uses. Therapists can use neuromuscular stimulators (NMES) or TENS units to treat a variety of conditions. Everything from avoiding muscle atrophy to pain management can benefit from the use of electrotherapy. Your specific need will dictate what type of electrotherapy is appropriate for your therapy program. Many of these treatments can be done in a clinical setting as well as in the home.

Medical Conditions and Their Treatments with Electrotherapy

What Is Electrotherapy?

How exactly does electricity play a part in any therapy? To understand this, you must understand how our brain, muscles, and nervous system work together. The normal operation of our muscles relies upon electrical impulses sent by our brain to the corresponding muscles to either contract or extend depending upon the task at hand. Many times due to injury or other type of malady, our body’s nerve receptors can trigger when some type of acute injury or even chronic situation causes pain or a lack of response from our muscles. Electrotherapy for nerve pain normally includes TENS therapy. TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, which uses electrical wavelengths administered by a TENS unit to alleviate pain. While it’s not fully understood how it works for pain relief it is believed that the electrical impulses a TENS unit generates interferes with our bodies own pain receptors, therefore blocking pain. The other theory is that a TENS unit produces electrical impulses that stimulate our bodies production of dopamine, which is a natural pain relieving hormone. Besides pain relief, electrotherapy (EMS) can be used for rehabilitation and even for training and recovery for athletes around the globe. There are different types of electrotherapy dependent upon your individual needs.

Zap Pain Away

Many physiotherapy treatment programs can incorporate electrotherapy in them. Your physical therapist may opt for TENS therapy that includes a TENS unit or a neuromuscular stimulator (EMS or NMES). Options for this therapy include:

1. BioMedical EMS 2000 Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulator

This two-channel, an analog device provides muscle stimulation for a variety of acute medical situations. They include immobilized limbs, long-term disuse/prolonged bed rest, muscle weakness, and muscle spasticity caused by a stroke. EMS 2000 Stimulator offers three modes of operation: cycled, constant, and reciprocal and is powered by a 9 V battery. Dual channels are controlled by adjustable knobs for tailored intensity for each user. Care should be exercised to avoid certain pacemakers when using this device.

BioMedical EMS 2000 Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulator
 Chattanooga Portable Electrotherapy Intelect NMES Standard Unit

2. Chattanooga Portable Electrotherapy Intellect NMES Standard Unit

Designed for the prevention of disuse atrophy and muscle re-education, this portable NMES unit features dual independent channels, adjustable pulse amplitudes, and pulse frequencies. It also allows for adjustable contraction and relaxation parameters. It utilizes an asymmetric biphase square pulse waveform that can improve circulation and is compact and portable (only 1" x 2.4" x 3.6" inches).

3. BioMedical Quadstar II Multimodality Sequential Stimulator

Some electrotherapy units can provide multiple physiotherapy treatments. Multimodality Sequential Unit can be programmed for three different types of electrotherapy: NMS, INF, and TENS. The programmable sequence allows users to customize their therapy by type and duration. The key is the three wavelengths available to users that include symmetric biphase, pulsed sine, and asymmetrical biphase. It features nine different preprogrammed fixed sequences which allow for 20 minutes of INF, 20 minutes of NMS and ending with 20 minutes of TENS therapy. This allows for pain relief and combating muscle atrophy all in the same unit!! This unit allows therapist and users to adjust both the pulse rate and width to customize any electrotherapy session.

 BioMedical Quadstar II Multi Modality Sequential Stimulator
 Muscle Stimulators

4. Muscle Stimulators

These devices are used for the evaluation and treatment of muscular dysfunction caused by peripheral and CNS disorders by preventing or retarding muscle atrophy, calming muscle spasms, and muscle re-education. Muscle stimulators are perfect for facial and smaller peripheral muscles since they use active probe positioning and on/off control with effective and comfortable stimulation. Many times your doctor/therapist may prescribe this for use in the home for greater patient compliance to electrotherapy.

5. BioMedical Impulse 3000 TENS Unit

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation units like this one utilize electrical impulses to alleviate nerve pain. By sending electrical impulses to affected areas, the electrotherapy can effectively minimize pain by adjusting the duration, intensity, number per second, and modulation of the TENS unit via controls and switches protected by the slide cover on the front of the unit. This prevents any accidental changing of parameters during the physiotherapy treatment. The programmable electrical pulse is provided by two separate channels that are controllable independent of each other. The TENS therapy can help ease different symptoms by utilizing three different modes of operation: constant, width modulation, and burst.

 BioMedical Impulse 3000 TENS Unit
Bilt-Rite TENS And EMS Belt

6. Bilt-Rite TENS and EMS Belt

One problem that may cause trouble for some EMS and TENS unit users is making sure the electrodes and wires stay firmly in place during each electrotherapy session. On larger parts of the body, the use of medical tape may not firmly hold electrodes where they need to be in order to make physiotherapy treatments effective. This six-inch belt holds electrodes and wires correctly with a Velcro loop which is easy to use and can stay in place firmly due to its elasticity. Comfortable and easy to put on, TENS and EMS Belt allows therapist and users to maximize any physiotherapy treatment time.

Electrotherapy and pain relief can be achieved on your own schedule by employing an EMS or TENS unit. Each physiotherapy treatment can be done in a clinical setting or at home at your leisure. You should work with your doctor or therapist to derive the proper program for your individual case. Any change in the unit setting should only be done at the discretion of your doctor or therapist. Zap your way to pain relief easily and comfortably.

 

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