Electrical Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation is a process by which a physical therapist or other qualified medical professional elicits muscle contractions using electric impulses. The impulses are produced by a mechanical device and directed to the appropriate area via electrodes attached to the skin. These electric impulses simulate the signals sent from the central nervous system, thus causing the muscles to contract. This treatment has a variety of uses and is applicable to a wide range of subjects. Physical therapists often use it to prevent atrophy due to limited muscle use in patients who have musculoskeletal injuries or other conditions. Additionally, healthy people and athletes can use it for strength training purposes; patients with limited mobility can use it to condition and rehabilitate muscles; those with neural and/or muscular function issues can use it as a testing tool; and athletes can use it to help with post-exercise recovery. It also can be used to reduce pain, improve joint mobility, repair damaged tissue, stimulate blood flow, treat edema, and reduce urinary incontinence. It has also been examined as a treatment for chronic wounds and pressure ulcers, although studies regarding its effectiveness in addressing these issues have not produced conclusive evidence in favor of its use.