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We rely on electricity every day to light our homes and use appliances. With all its run-of-the-mill uses, you may have never considered that electricity could be used to reduce acute and chronic pain. How is electricity used to lessen pain? Electrotherapy directly blocks pain signals and encourages the body to release its own natural painkillers (endorphins).
Electrotherapy Uses and Benefits
The American Physical Therapy Association recognizes the use of electrotherapy for:
However, electrotherapy is mainly used by chiropractors to relax muscles, prevent muscle spasms, reduce pain, increase blood circulation, rehabilitate muscles and improve range of motion.
There are three different stimulation devices that emit electricity, and each generates its own waveforms, frequencies and effects. All of the mechanisms employ electrical stimulation to muscles and nerves through adhesive pads, which are placed on the skin.
What Does Treatment Feel Like?
As the intensity increases, the patient will feel a tingling sensation on the skin, or the sensation will be reminiscent of a deep massage if the device is being used to penetrate and treat the muscles. All of this is normal.
What Are the Side Effects?
Though side effects are uncommon, they can occur. They may include:
IFC, TENS and GS can be used in-home. These devices are powered by batteries, but may also come with an adapter to allow it to be plugged into an outlet. To reduce your risk of side effects and to reduce your chance of injury, it is best to consult with your chiropractor prior to use. He or she can show you how to properly use the device, can test the device out to see which intensity works best for you and can explain safety guidelines. For instance, electrodes should never be placed over the heart, throat, uterus (if pregnant), open wounds or areas of irritation.
To find out more, please contact our office.