Before starting electrotherapy, you may have several questions about it. Here are the most frequently asked questions we receive, all consolidated into one article for your education.
If you have even more questions not covered here, contact our team of experts at the Medcom Group!
What is electrotherapy?
Electrotherapy is a form of medical treatment that uses small electrical impulses to repair tissue, stimulate muscles, increase range of motion, and improve circulation. Essentially, it involves the use of electrical energy as a form of medical treatment for various physical and mental health conditions, including chronic pain, neuromuscular dysfunctions, tissue healing, and more.
Electrotherapy is a gentle and non-invasive technology that stimulates nerves and muscles through the skin's surface. Though it varies based on the specific device, electrotherapy works in a variety of ways:
- Sends out electrical impulses that block or interfere with the body's pain signals, reducing pain.
- Helps release endorphins (chemical messengers) that naturally decrease pain in the body.
- Stimulates muscle tissue to contract to reduce atrophy.
- Creates a heating effect within the body, which improves circulation and stimulates healing.
- Stimulates cells that reduce inflammation, promote collagen production, and inhibit pain.
The most common device for electrotherapy is called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Other types include Therapeutic Ultrasound, Interferential (IFT), Shockwave Therapy, Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), and Electroacupuncture.
What is electrotherapy for?
Electrotherapy helps to decrease pain and encourage healing after an injury. Several key benefits of electrotherapy include:
- Reduces nerve pain.
- Is a non-invasive, drug-free pain control method.
- Promotes healing of musculoskeletal injuries.
- Increases circulation for wound repair.
- Has minimal to no side effects.
- Prevents muscle atrophy.
- Treats fibromyalgia.
- Reduces arthritis, muscle pain, muscle spasms.
- Maintains and increases range of motion.
- Provides post-surgical stimulation of muscles to prevent venous thrombosis.
- Stimulates bone growth.
How does electrotherapy work?
Depending on the type of electrotherapy, it is mainly used to reduce pain, spasms, and swelling. Electrotherapy works by blocking the pain signals at the site from going to the brain - essentially sending new electric signals to the brain to override the natural pain impulses. It may also help the body produce natural painkillers called endorphins, which may block pain perception.
Can electrotherapy treat or cure injuries?
Electrotherapy is not a single cure for injuries, but it certainly helps treat wounds. By reducing pain and swelling while increasing circulation, your body can begin recovery with accelerated rehabilitation.
Is electrotherapy scientifically proven?
The precise results of electrotherapy efficacy are debated among researchers. However, since the 1950s, over 150 studies have shown effective treatment for mental disorders such as anxiety and physical injuries, musculoskeletal conditions, and disorders.
Furthermore, the anecdotal evidence from thousands of individuals is a testament to electrotherapy’s ability to relieve pain and faster rehabilitation.
Is electrotherapy safe?
Yes, it is safe. However, like any remedy, it is possible to overuse this procedure. If overused, your body may grow so accustomed to nerve and muscle stimulation that it becomes dependent on it. However, when electrotherapy is used correctly, it can propel the rehabilitation process. It is very safe because electrotherapy does not travel deeper than 2 inches of muscle. However, you may not want to use electrotherapy if you:
Are in the early stages of pregnancy
Experience numbness in the problem area
You may want to exercise caution and consult with your doctor if you have:
Suffered from a stroke
A cardiac condition
Does electrotherapy hurt?
No, electrotherapy does not hurt and can even be quite comfortable! It feels like a tingling, massaging sensation that reduces pain.
Can electrotherapy be done at home?
Electrotherapy can be done at home with the proper equipment. TENS devices, for example, are a tremendous at-home device.
Does electrotherapy require me to lie down or be immobile?
Another tremendous benefit of electrotherapy is its potential to be used on the go. It is small, portable, and battery-operated, which means you can take it with you and use it while doing activities that may be currently painful.
Will insurance pay for electrotherapy?
Yes! In most cases, all or a significant amount of the cost is covered by insurance plans.
What is a TENS unit?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is an electrotherapy involving a mild electrical current. A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device with leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes.
You attach the pads directly to your skin. When the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are delivered to the affected area of your body, and you feel a tingling sensation.
The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. They may also stimulate the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
TENS is one of the most common electrotherapy methods due to its easy accessibility and affordability, and the InTENSity 10 Digital Unit is among our most popular!
Contact the Experts
Electrotherapy has the potential to change your life completely. If you are considering electrotherapy for yourself or a loved one, contact our team of professionals at the Medcom Group to get started right away!
The content of this article has been created for educational purposes only and should not be considered healthcare advice. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional before practicing any therapy methods and/or devices discussed.