Electrotherapy is the use of electrical equipment as a medical treatment. It can apply to a variety of treatments, including ultrasound, interferential therapy, TENS and electrical stimulation.
Electrotherapy is used to reduce pain, muscle spasm, to promote healing and to activate muscles. Electrotherapy can be used with other protocols to achieve the best results. These include exercises, massage/manual therapy, kinesio taping and/or other kinds of electrotherapies.
In my practice I use different types of electrotherapy:
What should wear?
I would advise comfortable loose fitting clothes. The physiotherapist will need to see the affected body part, for the lower limbs bring shorts, for back problems the therapist may require you to remove your top.
Electrotherapy is not suitable for you if:
Interferential Therapy is one form of wide range of electrotherapy, it used to treat injuries or issues of the muscles, ligaments or bones.
Interferential current uses a medium frequency current that has been in use for therapeutic purposes for over 25 years. It involves the placement of damp sponges or self-adhesive pads on the body which deliver a mild current similar to the sensation of pins and needles or tingling.
Depending on the frequency of the current applied to the body, interferential therapy can give pain relief, improve blood flow and / or improve muscle activity.
Indications for Interferential therapy:
Benefits of interferential include:
2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS
TENS works by intercepting and blocking pain messages sent to the brain which gives the patient pain relief. The electrodes from TENS creates a vibrating feeling in the tissue.
TENS is effective at reducing pain in the following ways:
TENS is used to relieve pain and may include the following:
Indications for TENS:
3. Ultrasound/ Phonophoresis
Therapeutic ultrasound has been used as a treatment technique since the 1950’s and it remains a popular treatment for a range of clinical problems.
Ultrasound can assist phonophoresis. This treatment is a non-invasive way of administering medications to tissues below the skin; perfect for patients who are uncomfortable with injections. With this technique, the ultrasonic energy forces the drug through the skin. Cortisone used to reduce inflammation, is one of the more commonly used substances delivered in this way.
Ultrasound/ Phonophoresis is used for acute and chronic conditions. Therapeutic Effects include:
Indications for Ultrasound/ Phonophoresis:
4. The Galvanic current electrotherapy
Galvanic current is one of the oldest forms of therapeutic electricity. Galvanic Current rectified to a safe, low-voltage level is applied to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes with special pads allow a rush of electrical current to be released for the purpose of stimulating the nerves and muscles. For treatment we always use two pads: the positive pad: decreases circulation to the region beneath the pad while also minimizing swelling. The negative pad boosts circulation, which helps speed up wound healing. The pads also stimulate the muscles and nerves.
Indications for Galvanic current therapy:
During the high frequency treatment, enriched oxygen molecules are produced that create an anti-bacterial action and a "natural" thermal tissue warming. This reaction helps your blood vessels push away toxins, while the cells in your skin are enriched with nutrients and hydrating volume.
The primary benefit of these high-frequency treatments is their effect on circulation: promote the tone of blood vessel’s walls and in this case it helps to reduce inflammation, oedema and pain, because it increased blood flow bringing more nutrients, while helping to eliminate wastes.
In this treatment the physiotherapist holds the glass electrode and applies it upwards and outwards over the client’s skin. Sparking between the glass electrode and the skin ionises the air producing ozone.
Indications for D’arsonval:
6. Diadynamic Therapy
Diadynamic therapy is a type of electrotherapy which uses certain parameters of electric current: sine-wave current at the frequency of 50–100 Hz. The current is primarily to affect nerve tissue; in which it contributes to weakening pain impulses. Depending on the strength and interval of the sine-wave current, it also causes muscle contraction, which is perceived as slight tremor and buzzing in the area where the electrode is placed.
Impact of diadynamic currents:
Indications for diadynamic therapy:
Medi-wave can be used to provide skeletal muscle contraction without fatigue of the muscles. Medi-wave can provide stimulation at the muscle motor points and result in a controlled contraction that is usually rhythmical to provide pumping of the muscles to stimulate weak or underused muscles and can help with lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling. This machine can stimulate, exercise and strengthen muscles.