Information about Electrical Stimulation
What is electric muscle stimulation?
Mainly used for muscle strengthening and recovery, electric muscle stimulation (ESTIM) is a physical therapy that helps muscles contract better. When the muscle contraction in your body is enhanced, it helps you control pain in a better way, increase physical functioning, manage inflammation and build your strength.
Under normal circumstances, when you maximally contract your muscles, only 30% of the total muscle fibres at most are in a state of contraction. The remaining 70% are mostly dormant and will only become active when the current contracting fibres start fatiguing. With ESTIM, it becomes possible to electrically stimulate these resting muscles and contract them which, in turn, improves strength.
With ESTIM therapy, it is possible to increase blood circulation and swelling since it enhances inflammation control and tissue healing in your body. It also helps block nerve transmission in the spinal cord which in turn reduces pain sensations. Apart from ESTIM sessions on regular intervals, your chiropractor might also give you some exercises to do at home after your sessions to promote overall healing.
What does an electric muscle stimulation treatment include?
The electrodes form an electric stimulation machine are taken and placed around the affected areas of the body. These electrodes can be placed on the skin, muscles, or on implantations. Though, if you are suffering from neck or back issues, then the electrodes can be placed on the skin only.
The right placement of electrodes is usually determined by the chiropractor depending on the reason for the treatment and how superficial or deep they want the current to enter the body. The way that your muscles change shape after they are exposed is also a big factor in determining how the electrodes are placed on the body.
Usually, chiropractors adjust the intensity of the electric stimulation machine up to a point where you get a slight prickly sensation which is noticeable but not very intense. In most cases, electric stimulation sessions usually last 10-15 minutes. However, the exact duration is determined by the chiropractor depending on how your body responds to the stimulation.
The benefits of electric muscle stimulation
Electric muscle stimulation helps promote blood flow to the injured area which in turn quickens the healing process. When you have an injury that is preventing movement in a specific part of the body, electric muscle stimulation can help contract more muscles and improve movement. The idea is to allow weaker muscles to build strength and tone before further physical therapy.
With ESTIM, the link between muscle movements and brain is also strengthened which allows you to return to your original strength faster and also enables you to perform more difficult exercises with ease.
ESTIM sessions can be incredibly relaxing for people and have the same benefits as that of a massage therapy since both of them help release tension in the muscles and promote blood flow.
Just like massage therapy, ESTIM also improves mood by producing more endorphins. The blood flow promoted by contracted muscles relieves pain in the body as well. Like a deep tissue massage, electric muscle stimulation can relax the muscles and lower stress hormones.
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