Pain Management has been shown to be effective with the use of Electrotherapy treatments and medical stimulators such as Microcurrent, TENS, EMS, Interferential, Ultrasound, High Volt Pulsed Galvanic, Infrared, and EMG Biofeedback, in a professional medical setting as well as in the home.
Microcurrent Stimulation and Microcurrent Therapy
Micro-current is a low level of electrical current that mirrors the body's own natural current and is sub-sensory. Its proven and accepted properties and potential range in applications - from wound healing, muscle rehabilitation, and macular degeneration to lymphodema - continue to assist medical practitioners with amazing results.
Microcurrent stimulation is a therapy used, whereby electric current is provided in millionths of an ampere. It works on a cellular level to help stimulate the healing process. It is based upon the theory that the body's electrical balance is disrupted when injured, so that the natural electrical current of the body changes course. Microcurrent stimulation restores this balance.
Microcurrent therapy can relieve pain, stimulate wound healing, help stimulate the regeneration of injured tissue, provide relief to myofascial trigger points, stimulate lymphatic flow and increase protein synthesis. Micro-current stimulation is produced in therapy at literally one millionth of an ampere, because this is believed to be the body's own natural current strength. This therefore restores the body's own natural current.
When microcurrent stimulation is provided, it cannot be felt (sub-sensory), because the sensory receptors are not stimulated. Other electrotherapy pain relief methods, such as TENS, are provided at higher occurrence in milliamps, thereby causing muscle contraction.
With microcurrent therapy, ATP production increases by up to 500%. ATP is the primary molecule our bodies use to produce energy and is found in every cell of the body. In fact, it has been found that ATP production increased fivefold after microcurrent therapy was administered. As stated previously, protein synthesis also increased, and so did amino acid transport.
When microcurrents are used to help heal injured tissue, it restores the natural current flow to the tissue. This in turn allows the cells to regain their own natural energy flow. When injury occurs, the area that has been injured has a higher electrical resistance than the surrounding tissue does. This in turn decreases and perhaps even stops electrical flow through the injured area, which impedes the healing process and promotes inflammation. When microcurrent therapy is used, this resistance is reduced, which allows electricity to flow through and therefore restore normal function. This, in turn, helps stimulate natural healing.
In addition, microcurrent therapy can be used at specific frequencies for a variety of tissues and conditions. This can often soften tissue and decrease pain, which provides long-lasting pain relief that may even be permanent. This has some promising benefits that may be applicable to current chronic pain conditions as well.
For example, fibromyalgia and myofascial pain have been shown to be greatly reduced and even eliminated with the use of microcurrent therapy. When traumatic injury occurs, such as that which occurs with sports, both ligaments and tendons seem to repair much more quickly, and inflammation and swelling is also reduced.
It also has antiaging and general health benefits. Thus far, studies have shown that using microcurrent therapy can help stimulate and rehydrate collagen, increase the uptake of nutrients within cells, and significantly stimulate the excretion of waste products, including heavy metal from inside cells. Therefore, microcurrent therapy may soon be on the horizon not just as a pain relief therapy for those who have been injured or who are suffering from chronic pain, but as a general health and well-being "maintenance" practice used to sustain good health.
Although the level of current used in micro-current devices is very minute, there are some contraindications to consider. This includes a client who wears a pacemaker, is pregnant, or suffers from epilepsy, phlebitis or thrombosis, and of course any client who currently is under the care of a physician.
Modern Specific Frequency Microcurrent clinical studies have demonstrated usefulness in:
Another popular electrotherapy treatment for pain is TENS which stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and essentially what a TENS pad is, is a sticky pad that will be placed on the area of injury, whether it's your low back, your shoulder, your neck, your knee, and it will provide a sensory level stimulation.. TENS technology has been used by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors offices for decades and most of these medical professionals have a TENS device in their practice. Medical grade TENS technology provides immediate relief from debilitating low back pain problems and associated issues such as sciatica, headaches, migraines, and nerve damage. TENS is also used to deliver topical steroid medication through the skin to treat acute episodes of pain. This treatment is called Iontophoresis. The mild current causes the medication to migrate into soft tissue serving to reduce inflammation.
The electrical stimulation of the nerve fibers through the electrodes can actually block a pain signal from being carried all the way to the brain. If it is blocked, the pain is not felt. TENS treatment also triggers the release of the body's natural pain-fighting endorphins. Electrodes should never be placed near or on the eyes, neck, or on an open wound or cut. If placed on an open wound, the veins in your body will serve as wires sending a mircoshock directly to your heart, sending you into ventricular fibrillation. Also a TENS unit should not be used if you have a pacemaker in you, as it will interfere with the electrical structures on the pacemaker.
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) or electromyostimulation, is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses.
Electrical Muscle Stimulators (EMS) are indicated for use in:
The retardation or prevention of disuse atrophy (wasting of muscle due to lack of use)
Maintaining or increasing the range of motion
Relaxation of a muscle spasm
Increasing local blood flow
Muscle re-education, such as after surgery or trauma
Prevention of deep Venous Thrombosis (blood clots due to inactivity) immediately after surgery
A wide range of neurological and orthopedic diagnoses will benefit from the use of Muscle Stimulators.
Interferential stimulators provide a current that is essentially a deeper form of TENS. In essence, IFC modulates a high frequency (4000 Hz) carrier waveform with the same signal produced by a TENS unit. The high frequency carrier waveform penetrates the skin more deeply than a regular TENS unit, with less user discomfort for a given level of stimulation. Deep in the tissues, the carrier waveform is cancelled out, resulting in a TENS-like signal deep under the skin.
High Volt Pulsed Galvanic
High Volt Pulsed Galvanic is primarily used for quickly increasing circulation or reducing edema in a specified area. Galvanic stimulation is most useful in acute injuries associated with major tissue trauma with bleeding or swelling. In contrast to TENS and IFC units, which apply alternating current, galvanic stimulators apply direct current. High-voltage pulsed galvanic stimulation (HVPGS) is gaining widespread use for wound healing, edema reduction and pain relief. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Diabetic Foot are two major areas of use. Also used widely by Physical Therapists for wound healing.
Iontophoresis a.k.a. Electromotive Drug Administration (EMDA)) is a technique using a small electric charge to deliver a medicine or other chemical through the skin. Iontophoresis Units and Electrodes are used as an alternative to hypodermic needle injections of pain medication.
Infrared Joint Systems
Infrared Joint Systems to therapeutically treat Osteoarthritis of the knee or arthritis on the hand. Infrared heat lamps intended for the temporary relief of minor muscle strain spasm; providing temporary increase in local blood circulation where applied and muscle relaxation. Using a silica blend, TDP Lamps are known to emit the most effective and therapeutic far infrared waves. Over the years, the treatment of over millions of patients has proven that TDP lamps have a remarkable effect on 100 chronic conditions.
Therapeutic ultrasound is a form of deep heat therapy created by sound waves. When applied to soft tissues and joints, the sound waves are a form of micro-massage that help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and decrease pain, stiffness, and spasms. Ultrasound therapy is the use of high frequency sound waves to penetrate the skin to stimulate the cells and tissues where external treatments can not reach. Therapists have been using ultrasound for many years to treat conditions and injuries such as tendon and muscle injuries, arthritis, joint pain, muscle aches, strains, and more.
EMG biofeedback has been shown to produce more rapid and significantly greater development of strength when combined with more traditional form of physical therapy. EMG biofeedback has been successfully used for muscle reeducation and muscle strengthening in hemiplegic patients, rehabilitation following surgery or trauma, selective training of the vastus medialis during patella realignment. More recently, the use of EMG biofeedback training to remediate lower back pain has been studied.
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