Electrical muscle stimulation
While often referred to as “muscle stim,” this physiotherapy treatment involves low levels of electrical impulses delivered to the painful tissues to reduce pain and speed healing. Electric muscle stimulation is often described by patients as a pleasant, “tingling” sensation, or “electrical massage,” these impulses stimulate the body to release natural pain relievers, called endorphins. These endorphins reduce pain and inflammation, thereby promoting faster healing of the injured tissues. This therapy is often used to treat acute or chronic pain. It is also beneficial for strains or sprains of the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the spine and extremities.
This physiotherapy should not be mistaken with diagnostic ultrasound, often in use with prenatal screening, but is instead a therapeutic procedure that utilizes sound waves to treat injured muscles, joints, and soft tissues. The sound waves vibrate the tissues back and forth, creating a deep, micro-massage effect. In the case of a recent injury, this helps to decrease scar tissue and adhesion formation, which would otherwise interfere with the body’s healing process. The sound waves also decrease inflammation by destroying unwanted inflammatory cells. The sound waves also accelerate healing by stimulating the activity of the cells responsible for cellular and tissue repair. In chronic cases, special settings for the creation of a deep-heating effect, heating the tissues far below the skin’s surface. In conclusion this heat, along with the vibrations that are caused by the ultrasound, help to “melt away” the muscle spasms and “knots” felt in our muscles.
Whether applied manually or mechanically, the benefits of traction are similar. It is an excellent therapy choice to reduce pressure on cervical or lumbar discs. Traction effectively reduces joint and nerve pain, pressure, and inflammation, caused by bulging or herniated discs. This procedure is quite comfortable, and lasts several minutes.
First of all, ice therapy or cryotherapy is often the physiotherapy of choice for acute injuries. Actually, the application of ice over any painful tissue is usually effective at any stage of an injury. Cryotherapy works by constricting blood flow to the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, pain, and muscular spasms. Ice therapy works great for acute injuries for the maximum of 20 minutes. Also, it is important that you do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a paper towel or thin damp cloth prior to applying to the injured area.
The use of heat is effective in treating conditions that are subacute and chronic in nature. Within the first few days or weeks of a new injury, especially when any signs of swelling are present, it is not best to use heat for treatment. The best forms of heat are in the form of a warm bath/shower or a moist heating pad. Avoid “dry” heating pads, as they can promote additional swelling and inflammation. As with ice therapy, apply the heat for a maximum of 20 minutes per hour. Never go to sleep with a heating pad, as this can result in increased pain and tissue damage.