REBECA PHYSIO CLINIC

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Definition


Electrotherapy is the use of electrical stimulation for therapeutic purposes. Specifically, electrotherapy uses energy waves that are part of the electromagnetic spectrum to produce desired physiological and chemical effects in the body.


Purpose

Stimulation of physiochemical changes


Electrotherapy is also used to induce physiological and chemical changes. Some forms of electrotherapy induce these changes by introducing heat into the deep tissues; this deep heating increases blood flow to and from the problematic region and improves drainage. Other forms of electrotherapy are thought to stimulate the body's production of corticosteroids and vitamin D. Still others are believed to promote wound healing by stimulating intracellular activity.

Indications for the forms of electrotherapy that induce physiochemical changes include:

ELECTROTHERAPY


new fracture


hemorrhage


phlebitis

For the use of electrotherapy to stimulate muscle contraction, contraindications include:


acute inflammation


hemorrhage


foreign bodies or metallic implants


patient hyposensitivity in particular areas of the body


recent treatment with ionizing radiation therapies


pulmonary tuberculosis


severe diabetes


lupus erythematosus


photosensitivity or current use of photosensitizing drugs

For the use of electrotherapy to stimulate physiochemical changes, contraindications include:

undiagnosed pain (pain is a symptom that might signal a serious condition that may need to be treated directly)


current use of narcotic medications that can desensitize patients to stimuli patient hyposensitivity in particular areas of the body


pregnancy, except when electrotherapy is used to relieve pain of labor and delivery

Contraindications for pain relief electrotherapy include:

Stimulation of muscle contraction


Electrotherapy is used to stimulate the contraction of muscles during rehabilitation. This type of electrical stimulation is used to prevent muscle atrophy and to re-educate muscles after trauma or surgery. This form of electrotherapy can also be used to relieve muscle spasms.


Indications for electrotherapy to stimulate muscle contraction include:


healthy innervated muscle at risk of atrophy from immobilization or injury

denervated (lacking natural neural connection) muscle that might atrophy or degenerate low back spasm


Precautions


Although each modality of electrotherapy has its specific set of contraindications, cardiac pacemakers are a general contraindication for electrotherapy.

Electrical signals from electrotherapy devices can interact with the electrical signals from pacemakers and interfere with pacemaker functioning. Pacemaker disruption is particularly acute with such modalities as diathermy and electrical nerve stimulation.


However, less interference may occur with such radiation modalities as infrared, ultraviolet, and cold laser

treatments (these modalities are discussed in detail below in the Description section).

inflammatory orthopedic conditions


bronchitis


otitis media


sinusitis


prostatitis


certain immunoregulated dermatologic conditions such as psoriasis


open lesions and certain types of skin ulcers

post-operative incision pain


fracture pain


pain associated with labor and delivery


foot pain, pain associated with tendinitis


pain associated with certain types of arthritic inflammation


back and neck pain

Illustration of neurons firing

Pain relief


Electrotherapy is used to manage both acute and chronic pain. In the gate model of pain, the neural fibers that carry the signal for pain and those that carry the signal for proprioception (body position) are mediated through the same central junction.


Because signal transmission along pain fibers is slower than transmission along proprioception fibers, the gate model suggests that intense stimulation of proprioception fibers can block the slower-moving pain signals.


Some forms of electrotherapy attempt to stimulate these proprioception fibers to reduce the sensation of pain. Other forms of electrotherapy alleviate pain by introducing analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications via electric current to the painful area.


Various types of pain are indications for electrotherapy, including:

Electrotherapy is used for three therapeutic purposes:

to relieve pain


to stimulate physiochemical changes


to stimulate muscle contraction

Illustration of neural synapses

passing chemical messages

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REBECA PHYSIO CLINIC

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