Primarily used for pain relief and muscle re-education, electrical muscle stimulation (sometimes referred to as "e-stem") is one of Integrity's Physical Therapy's core techniques used in therapy and rehabilitation. In most settings, there is a machine that provides an electrical current. Wires from the machine are connected to adhesive patches that are placed on the skin over a predetermined area. Electrical current is then sent from the machine to the patches and delivered into the muscle tissue below, causing a sensory or motor response.
How does electricity alleviate pain? It's thought that the electrical impulses interrupt messages about pain sent from the nerves to the brain. The electricity blocks the activity of the pain receptors, which send those pain messages. If the brain doesn't get the messages from the nerves, it doesn't know that there's pain, and you don't feel any.
Types of electrical stimulations include inferential current (IFC), TENS, and pre-modulated.
Often times, after post-op surgery, the healing time for the affected area directly affects the muscle tone, stamina, and even its memory. Electric stimulation can re-educate the area and helps to once again get muscles and joints back in shape similar to pre-op conditions.
Types of muscle re-education include Russian.
While there can be some discomfort on higher settings, which are rarely used in our treatments, the feeling is effectively the same as "flexing" the targeted muscle. Pain is not a side effect of electrical stimulation. Although, similar to working out or exercising a group of muscles, soreness or fatigue can effect the targeted area for up to a few days.