Electrotherapy is used as follow-up therapy during rehabilitation to relax muscle spasms, prevent and delay disc atrophy, increase local blood circulation, muscle rehabilitation and electrical muscle stimulation, preservation and increase of the range of motion, manage chronic and interactive pain, acute post-traumatic pain, acute post-surgical pain, wound healing and many others. Different types of currents are used here, such as: Electrostimulation, TENS, Diadynamic, Galvanic, Interferential, Electrophoresis, Magnet, etc.
All electrotherapy devices have certain similarities such as using battery power to apply current to the electrodes. Therapies vary in frequencies, waveforms, and effects. These are some of the more common types of electrotherapy:
• Transcurrent electrical nerve stimulation • Electrical muscle stimulation • Interference current • Electromagnetic pulse therapy • Galvanic stimulation
Ultrasound and laser therapy are often grouped with electrotherapy or the broader category of electro-physical agents even though they do not deliver an electrical current. With ultrasound, sound waves are directed at the affected area to speed up the healing process. Laser therapy can also be used to help tissue heal and provides a more targeted and intensive treatment.
Electrotherapy is usually used in conjunction with other treatments rather than by itself. For people undergoing physical therapy, electrotherapy can relieve pain sufficiently enough for an individual to participate more actively in targeted exercises. Electrotherapy is one of the pain relief options gaining attention as the potential risks and side effects of opioid (narcotic) drugs have become more apparent. Attempts to use electric current to aid in healing go back to ancient times. The modern era of electrotherapy began with treatment for anxiety and depression, and the number of potential uses has grown ever since. Electrotherapy has been used to treat chronic pain and chronic fatigue in general, as well as:
• Diabetic nerve pain • Fibromyalgia • Migraines • Wound healing • Stimulation of bone growth
Electrotherapy can take many forms, but the most common type is transcurrent electrical nerve stimulation.