Traditional modalitieselectric stimulation- Electrical stimulation is a technique in which two or four electrode pads are used to electrically stimulate whole groups of muscles or one very large muscle as well as nerve fibers to cause an activation of the healing process. Both AC and DC may be used. AC is alternating current in which there is no polarity since the current direction switches back and forth. In DC it is direct current so a charge is built up under the pads this extra effect makes it more sensitive and aggressive, but the chemical component gives an added healing effect to the patients spinal segment of innervation.
The purpose and effects of electric stimulation of individual or groups of muscles are means of providing active exercise to muscles, which the patient is unable to contract voluntarily.
If the muscle is denervated or paralyzed the stimulation will maintain nutrition of the muscle through promotion of blood flow, decrease fibrotic changes such as scar tissue build up or shortening of the muscle by disuse, and slow down or stop muscle atrophy (wasting away of the muscle fibers).
Electric stimulation is also used for more common reasons such as to decrease pain symptoms by causing an analgesic effect to the area therefore reducing pain. Additionally, electric stimulation will decrease muscle spasms caused by falls, strains, or external impact by fatiguing the muscle and relaxing it back to its natural state and size.
The following is a list of specific indications for the use of electric stimulation:
* Peripheral nerve injuries
* Tendon transplants
* Post surgical neuromuscular reeducation (patients forget how to use the muscle)
* Upper motor neuron lesions (strokes, bleeds in the spine)
* Facilitation of weakened muscles or paralysis
* Assisting venous and lymphatic drainage
* Assisting in range of motion increases
Contraindications for this type of treatment vary depending on the patients past medical history.