Whenever you are recovering from an injury, stroke or fibromyalgia pain or any soft tissue conditions, the most beneficial treatment recommended is a physical therapy procedure known as Electrical Stimulation or ESTIM. The painless procedure of ESTIM accelerates recovery and relieves pain from several symptoms. This method is widely used by physical therapists in every rehabilitation program.
ESTIM stimulates electric pulses into the body to mimic the action of signals coming from your nervous system. The cells in your nervous system are triggered during voluntary contraction and release. Muscles and nerves are the main targets of these electric pulses. These mild electrical pulses are helpful in training your muscles to respond to natural signals of the body to perform actions.
Types of ESTIMs
- TENS: The therapists place the electrodes on the skin targeting the sources of pain. When the electrodes stimulate the pulses to nerve fibers, they block or reduce signals of pain reaching the brain. TENS therapy is useful in treating both chronic and acute pain.
- EMS: Similar to TENS the electrodes are placed on the skin of affected parts. The electrodes here use rhythmic contractions to aid in building muscle strength. EMS uses a slightly stronger current than TENS to contract muscles.
In addition to the above two types, the doctors and physical therapists may recommend some other procedures which include:
- Electrical Stimulation of Tissue Repair(ESTR): Used to relieve the pain by reducing the swelling and increase blood circulation
- Interferential Current(IFC): The pulses are beneficial in reducing pain
- Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation(NMES): Useful in increasing strength and restoring functions of muscles
- Functional Electrical Stimulation(FES): Aims at providing long-term stimulation to preserve muscle and motor skills
- Spinal Cord Stimulation(SCS): Relieves spine-related pain and discomfort
The Electrical Simulation or ESTIM uses small electrodes that are stuck on the skin. ESTIM electrodes are sticky pads that will come off easily with little discomfort after completing the session. These electrodes are placed on the affected area with wires attached to the ESTIM device.
Stream of electric pulses delivered from the ESTIM unit reaches the muscles causing them to contract. The pulses which are aimed at the nervous system stop the pain signals from reaching the spinal cord and the brain. A natural pain-relieving chemical called endorphins is also stimulated by these electric pulses.
- Electrodes are stuck on the skin of the affected part
- The current of the electrode is low in the beginning and increases gradually
- A tingling sensation occurs at the affected area
- A twitch or contract of muscle can be felt repeatedly depending on the type of stimulation
- The process may take around 5 to 15 mins
Conditions That Can Be Treated By ESTIM
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle conditioning
- Nerve Inflammation
- Urinary incontinence
- Surgery rehabilitation
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle injuries
- Cancer pains
- Relief from all types of chronic pain
- Working of weakened muscles
- Athletic recovery
- Retraining muscles post-surgery
- Reduces swelling
- Prevention from Atrophy
- Relief from discomfort and stress
- Improved blood circulation
- Increased range of motion
- Useful in muscle strengthening
increase production of endorphins— the body’s “feel good” hormones. TENS may be used for chronic as well as acute pain with excellent results.