Electric Stimulation Therapy
Many patients can experience short-term pain relief for muscular conditions through electrical stimulation therapy, which is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment option. This treatment is sometimes referred to as a TENS unit, as well.
Electrical stimulation therapy involves placing adhesive pads with electrodes on the patient’s skin in order to direct a controlled electrical current through the body. The electrodes are placed such that the electrical current reaches the affected area of the body and causes a contraction of a targeted single muscle or group of muscles. While it may seem scary to send electricity through the body, it is actually replicating the electrical impulses that occur in the body during normal movement and exercise. Most patients do not feel any pain while receiving the treatment.
The produced contraction causes an increase in blood supply to the targeted area, which can result in improved muscle strength and increased healing. Depending on the severity of the condition, the electrical stimulation can be increased for a more forceful contraction or decreased for a gentler contraction.
An additional benefit of this treatment is that the nerves in the affected area are stimulated, which can block pain signals from the nerves to the brain. This is why electric stimulation therapy is often used to help treat chronic conditions, but many acute conditions can be effectively treated as well. It is also thought that the electrical stimulation causes the body to produce endorphins, which naturally provide pain relief.
This treatment will be customized to the particular needs of the patient, both in terms of intensity and duration. Often, it is used in collaboration with other forms of treatments, such as physical therapy or ultrasound therapy. It is important to note that electrical stimulation therapy does not address the root cause of the pain and so does not provide a cure, but it can be used effectively for short-term pain relief.