electrotherapy in physiotherapy

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what is electrotherapy in physiotherapy?

Content is medically reviewed by:

Shruti Bangera, Masters In Neurological Physiotherapy, Senior Physiotherapist & SME, Portea

Electrotherapy is a method of medical treatment which uses electric current to the affected areas. It is mostly used by experienced physiotherapists to treat a variety of conditions ranging from muscle pain to arthritis. 

This treatment option is useful for treating chronic pain, muscle wasting, musculoskeletal injuries, and nerve pain by using targeted and controlled electrical stimulation.

benefits of electrotherapy in physiotherapy

Though there are plenty of electrotherapy treatments using various devices, they are non-invasive and have minimal to no side effects. Other than these, electrotherapy offers several key benefits which are listed below: 

  • Reduces body pain
  • Alleviates nerve pain
  • Accelerates healing of musculoskeletal injuries
  • Increases blood circulation in the body
  • Heals wounds
  • Relaxes muscle spasms

types of electrotherapy in physiotherapy

Electrotherapy is very useful in conditions where medications are not effective. It can vary as per the patient’s condition and needs. The common forms of electrotherapy that physiotherapists use are as follows: 

  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): In TENS electrotherapy, a small electrical device is used to deliver electrical impulses through the skin. Common conditions that can be treated through this are lower back pain, labour pain, and arthritis. 
  • Interferential Therapy: Also known as IFT, this is a deeper form of TENS electrotherapy and uses two high frequency currents. It is effective in pain relief, muscle stimulation, and blood circulation.
  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS): In this type of electrotherapy, the physiotherapist focuses on the muscle tissues instead of nerves. EMS is a specialized form where your motor neurons are stimulated to contract the muscles. This therapy is used to treat muscle atrophy.
  • Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS): PENS involves the application of electrical stimulation through small needles that penetrate the skin. It can also be used at home and is more beneficial than TENS. 
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound: This form of electrotherapy in physiotherapy uses a transducer instead of electrode pads. The benefits of therapeutic ultrasound include the healing of muscles and ligaments and the healing process. 

how does it work?

Electrotherapy uses electric currents to stimulate nerves and muscles through the skin. Since it is a non-invasive treatment method, it is not painful. People only feel relaxed during their sessions. In some cases, they can experience vibration or little tingling in the body. 

Here are some of the ways electrotherapy treatment works in the body: 

  • It sends electrical impulses that block the pain signals; thereby, reducing pain. 
  • Electric physiotherapy also helps in releasing endorphins that decrease pain or discomfort. 
  • It creates a healing effect on the body by improving blood circulation.
  • The treatment stimulates the cells leading to reduced inflammation in the body.
  • Electrotherapy machines also stimulate muscle tissues for relaxation.
  • It can also prevent muscle atrophy through EMS with muscle stimulation. 

when do you need electrotherapy?

The use of electrotherapy in physiotherapy can vary as per the patients’ condition. You may be recommended physiotherapy electrical stimulation if you have: 

  • Acute or chronic ankle or joint pain
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Disc pain or spinal osteoarthritis/degenerative disc disease(DDD)
  • Hip pain
  • Facial paralysis
  • Labour pain
  • Post lumbar laminectomy
  • Post surgical knee pain related to muscle, tendon, ligament
  • Wrist pain
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Shin splints
  • Post Herpetic Neuralgia
  • Tennis elbow

If you are currently experiencing any of the above-listed issues, then electrotherapy can be a good treatment option for you. A qualified physiotherapist will help you in identifying the best electrotherapy as per your condition and make sure that you have a speedy recovery. 

how portea helps?

Finding the right physiotherapist is not a task anymore. We, at Portea, aim to deliver world-class care with compassion at affordable rates. Here is how we can help you: 

  • Portea has a team of highly experienced and certified physiotherapists offering the best care and treatment.
  • You can book the therapy session as per your convenience.
  • Portea offers dedicated services at home along with lab tests and medical equipment rentals, making healthcare accessible. 
  • Our trained physiotherapists use advanced devices to monitor medical reports and patient progress.
  • Our physiotherapy services are customized as per the patient’s needs to provide them special care.
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