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Electrotherapy | A versatile medical treatment image

Electrotherapy | A versatile medical treatment

When an individual undergoing treatment and some form of physical therapy finds it inadequate to manage symptoms and control pain, they are advised electrotherapy. It is a subtle and non-invasive medical treatment, where electric current is transmitted to the affected areas. It is a powerful tool used by many physiotherapists to treat musculoskeletal pain, nerve pain, muscle wasting and chronic pain. 


How does it work?

  • The functional principle of electrotherapy is sending out electrical impulses that block pain signals being sent to the brain to lessen the pain.
  • It helps release endorphins naturally, which also contributes to reduced pain.
  • Works on creating a heating effect that stimulates the body to heal
  • It stimulates muscular tissues to reduce atrophy
  • It works on reducing inflammation, promoting collagen production and inhibiting pain.


What are the different types of treatment?

  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): In this method, a small electrical device is used to distribute electrical impulses through the skin. It is used in treating lower back pain, arthritis etc.
  • Electric Muscle Stimulation: The main focus of this therapy is not the nerves and muscle tissues, in this therapy one’s motor neurons, are stimulated to contract the muscles.


  • Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS): This kind of therapy is more intense than TENS and uses two high-frequency currents. It is said to be effective in pain relief and in stimulating blood flow.


  • Shockwave Therapy: Acoustic waves with high energy are used in this treatment; it is used to help stimulate collagen production and release painful trigger points.


What are the various benefits?

  • Healing musculoskeletal wounds: Electrotherapy modalities like Shockwave treatment can help treat various conditions like Tennis Elbow, Jumper’s Knee, shoulder pain and injuries etc. It helps in increasing blood flow which stimulates the healing process.
  • Non-invasive treatment: It is a safe and risk-free way to handle chronic pain. It also helps people who struggle with excessive medicinal drug-intake and provides them with a non-addictive alternative to reduce pain. This treatment might also prevent the need for surgery in some cases.


  • Decreased nerve pain – Symptoms like tingling, burning, and numbing sensations experienced by many people dealing with neural conditions and damage can benefit from TENS.


  • Minimal side effects – Majority of people go through electrotherapy without experiencing any side-effects. Most people who share any side effects are usually allergic to the adhesive used on the outside to secure the electrodes.


Electrotherapy is used in addition to traditional treatments; one can consult their general physician or physiotherapist to identify the best treatment that will help alleviate your chronic pain and other symptoms. The advantages of this therapy method are plenty, which is why it has gained popularity in recent times. 

Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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