Electrotherapy can cover a wide range of treatments that involve electricity used as a therapeutic tool to help heal the body. Primarily, it is the use of an electrical current to stimulate nerves and muscles through the skin in order to provide a measure of pain relief, according to Balance in Life Wellness Center. Chiropractors, physical therapists and even cardiologists use electrotherapy to improve the quality of life through pain management. Electrotherapy stimulates muscles and nervesto improve function, and has the therapeutic benefit of relaxing tissues to bring about alleviation of pain.
If you have ever suffered a sprain or strain of your muscles, you know how painful it can be. According to Balance in Life, strains and sprains are treated effectively using electrotherapy, which penetrates tissue without invasion. According to Preferred Medical, electrotherapy can also reduce the tightening of muscles which are often responsible for significant pain in the back and neck. Reducing muscle tightness in the neck can help to prevent migraines that cause debilitating pain. Reducing muscle spasms and pain in your back can prevent exacerbation of the back problems, which may lead to disability or surgical intervention.
Range of Motion and Decreasing Atrophy
Some people suffer from spasms in their muscles, leading to a reduction in range of motion. Electrotherapy is often used to help reduce swelling which can help to improve both range and movement. According to Balance in Life, electrotherapy stimulates muscles that are infrequently used and helps to prevent muscles from wasting away. This isespecially helpful for people that have suffered an injury from an accident or stroke and are unable to use their muscles. Electrotherapy can help maintain th muscle tone and uphold the strength in your muscles until your physical state has improved.
Cardiac Patient Benefits
A different application of electrotherapy involving electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS, was employed to help improve the strength of the heart in those suffering from congestive heart failure. In a study in the "Journal of Cardiac Failure," done by P. Banerjee, B. Caulfielld, et al., researchers embarked on a series of tests, using EMS on patients' legs to strengthen muscles and calculate overall benefits to the heart. The study reported that among patients given electrotherapy, improvements were noted in their overall medical condition, including muscular endurance, weight reduction, and an overall lowering of their BMI, or body mass index.
- Balance in Life P.C.: Electrotherapy
- The University of Rhode Island: Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation for Patients with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)
- "Journal of Cardiac Failure"; Prolonged Electrical Muscle Stimulation Exercise...in Patients with Stable Chronic Heart Failure"; P. Banerjee, B.Caulfield, L. Crowe and A. Clark; 2009