Electrotherapy is an effective pain treatment method every health care provider should consider. By applying gentle, targeted relief with an electrotherapy device, patients suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, nerve pain, chronic pain, or muscle wasting can find the easiest and most effective solution to their health challenge.
But when is the right time to recommend electrotherapy to your patients? Here are the four most common instances where electrotherapy can significantly reduce pain and muscle spasms.
What is Electrotherapy?
Electrotherapy is conducted using a non-invasive medical device that attaches to the surface of a patient’s skin and stimulates nerves and muscles through gentle electrical impulses. Devices such as TENS units and the Interferential Stimulator help by blocking pain signals, increasing the release of endorphins, stimulating muscle tissue to reduce atrophy, improving circulation and healing, and reducing inflammation.
Electrotherapy can be done using various devices, including therapeutic ultrasound, interference (IFT), shockwave therapy, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), electroacupuncture, and TENS devices. TENS devices are the most widespread due to their effectiveness, affordability, and ease of use.
Considering electrotherapy units more broadly, there are several tangible and proven benefits, including:
- Minimal to no side effects.
- Stimulates bone growth.
- Non-invasive, drug-free pain control method.
- Helps heal musculoskeletal injuries.
- Increases circulation for wound repair.
- Increases range of motion.
- Reduces nerve pain.
- Prevents muscle atrophy.
- Reduces arthritis, muscle pain, and muscle spasms.
- Treats fibromyalgia
- Provides post-surgical stimulation of muscles to prevent venous thrombosis.
When Your Patient Can Benefit
Several specific health issues can be treated or prevented by using electrotherapy, such as endometriosis, fibromyalgia, atrophy, and venous thrombosis, among others. Each individual is different, of course, and electrotherapy results may vary from person to person depending upon their health challenge and other circumstances. However, electrotherapy can also be used in more general circumstances. Here are some instances where electrotherapy can greatly help pain management.
One of the most common sources of injury is from people playing sports. Not only contact sports like football but non-contact athletes such as runners often incur musculoskeletal injuries due to sheer exertion, tired muscles, or mistakes. The standard treatment for sports injuries usually involves ice or cold therapy initially to reduce inflammation, followed by applying heat to encourage healing.
Electrotherapy is an excellent therapy method to recommend athletes with a sports injury, as they often will want all options available to them to hasten their return to their sport. In addition to ice and heat, electrotherapy can encourage the healing of wounds, increase circulation, and prevent spasms. Furthermore, it can help the athlete increase their range of motion and loosen their affected muscle to return to their sport with the lowest chance of a recurring injury.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, but recommending electrotherapy to patients who suffer from arthritis can help slow down its progression and reduce the associated discomfort. For most types of arthritis, the therapeutic goal is to minimize the amount of joint inflammation and prevent joint damage.
With electrotherapy, symptoms of arthritis can be lessened significantly, including the pain, while helping maintain the patient’s range of motion if they are less mobile. In conjunction with medication, surgery, and physiotherapy, electrotherapy can significantly improve the quality of patients’ lives.
It's common for women to have pain or discomfort before or during their period. In addition to gentle exercise or applying heat to reduce pain, electrotherapy is a medication-free way of reducing the overall pain and discomfort experienced during a period. Once again, electrotherapy reduces pain signals and relaxes muscles while stimulating the production of endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.
Other health complications can cause pain similar to period pain, such as endometriosis and adenomyosis, but they can be treated using electrotherapy as well.
Healthcare providers often have patients with wide-ranging health challenges. Electrotherapy units should be recommended for use within clinical settings for their ability to treat many different types of pain without extensive equipment or the use of medication. Electrotherapy devices have been used in hospices, palliative care, orthopedic surgery, neurology, dentistry, chiropractic, hospitals, clinics, and physical therapy. The applicability of electrotherapy, affordability, and ease of use make it an ideal piece of equipment to have on hand for any situation a provider may face.
When Not to Recommend Electrotherapy
There are a few contraindications for electrotherapy. Electrotherapy can be harmful to individuals who are pregnant, have a pacemaker, or suffer from epilepsy, and in these situations should not be recommended for use.
Furthermore, there are certain areas of the body where electrotherapy should not be recommended for use, including over the eyes, trans-cerebrally, the front of the neck, simultaneously positioned anterior and posterior chest electrodes, internally, over broken skin or lesions, over tumors, directly over the spine, and regions of severe paresthesia where skin irritation might not be recognized.
Electrotherapy For Your Patients
Electrotherapy is an effective pain management method for many different challenges patients face. Whether it’s in the home care or clinical setting, electrotherapy should be among the top options recommended for patients, giving them medication-free alternatives to a life with less pain.
If you’re considering electrotherapy machines for your clinic or your patients, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Medcom Group right away. Our experienced team strives for the highest medical and business standards - call or email us today with any questions or to learn more about electrotherapy devices available to you!