Introduction to electrotherapy

Electrotherapy is part of physiotherapy and it is about using different forms of electric current for medical purposes. Electric current is a method of treatment and it is used in certain doses and intensities carefully set by specialists. Electrotherapy does not cause discomfort to patients. The only sensation felt by the patients is a slight pleasant vibration in the body area where the electric current is applied.

This procedure is recommended in the sub-acute, chronic or acute chronic stages of various medical conditions in order to restore tissue integrity, relieve symptoms, and reduce inflammation or to maintain and improve muscle tonus.

Medical conditions addressed by electrotherapy procedures

Within medical recovery, electrotherapy procedures are used in many different situations and for many different medical disorders. All these procedures are performed only under the supervision of a medical specialist.

Among the medical conditions that can effectively use electrotherapy is muscle atrophy or atony, especially in the post-surgical period, orthopedic trauma, peripheral neurological injuries, degenerative diseases (spondylosis, arthrosis, and discopathy) or rheumatologic diseases.

These are just the most important medical conditions where electrotherapy is used as a procedure in medical recovery, but the use of electrotherapy is not limited to the above listed medical diseases.

Therapeutic benefits of electrotherapy

Electrotherapy-specific procedures bring a number of benefits for patients who have been recommended these procedures following a program developed by a medical practitioner. Among the most obvious benefits of electrotherapy is pain relief in a non-invasive way, being an effective solution in case of medication treatments with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Other benefits of electrotherapy include decreasing inflammation, a relaxing effect, increasing muscle tone, decreasing contractures, or releasing endorphins, which are responsible for feeling better and blocking pain receptors, reducing pain. Another benefit of electrotherapy is that it is an economical solution for those patients who need a completely non-invasive alternative to treat pain.

Types of currents used in electrotherapy

In the domain of electrotherapy there are different types, two of them being the best known because they are used for a wide range of medical conditions. These include TENS therapy, also called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or ICT therapy, also known as interferential current therapy.

The other types of electrotherapy treatments involve the use of the following categories of currents: the Trabert currents, DIPOL currents, galvanic currents, isoplanar currents, Russian currents, low voltage currents, high voltage currents, WMS burst currents or the HAN stimulator.

TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is used to treat arthritis, low back pain, pain caused by nerve disorders or pain caused by extreme physical exertion.

ICT (interferential) currents rely on two high-frequency currents transmitted simultaneously through the skin to intersect and interfere with each other. They help to reduce pain, stimulate muscle and blood flow and reduce local edema.

Trabert currents are effective in reducing pain by blocking pain signals through stimulating nerves or releasing endorphins, natural chemicals with analgesic effects. They also help to reduce inflammation and relax tense muscles.

Galvanic currents can be used to cure various diseases, such as arthritis, arthrosis, lower back pain, sciatica, muscle pain, etc.

Low-voltage currents are rhythmic impulses with a frequency up to 1000 Hz that produce excitatory effects on nerve fibers and muscle tissue, but also have analgesic effects.