Chiropractic Electrotherapy: Electrical Muscle Stimulation


Chiropractic Raleigh NC Pinched Nerves

Chiropractic electrotherapy is a physical therapy modality that has been used for hundreds of years to treat acute and chronic pain.

Electrotherapy is used to treat acute and chronic pain conditions, such as:

  • Back pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Sciatica & nerve pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Wound healing
  • Shoulder pain
  • Diabetic nerve pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hip pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sports injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Muscle tension/soreness (myalgia)

While electrotherapy has more typically been used in pain management, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment, it has recently been receiving more attention as a potential treatment for the risks and side effects of opioid (narcotic) medications for pain.

Electrotherapy usually refers to Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy. These therapies use specific and targeted electrical currents to reduce pain, improve circulation, repair tissues, and strengthen muscles, leading to pain reduction, injury recovery, and improved function.

Electrical stimulation is thought to block pain and nerve signals from the body, which reduces pain. It also promotes the release of endorphins, which are the body's pain-blocking and feel-good chemicals.

Endorphins are your "feel-good chemicals". Think of the feeling you get after a long jog, often described as a runner's high. Endorphins are some of the chemicals that produce this euphoric feeling.

How does chiropractic electrical stimulation therapy feel?

Initially, one may feel slightly uncomfortable due to the forced muscle contractions being administered into the body. This sensation is often described as a tingling, buzzing feeling.

But typically, as the therapy progresses, the sensation begins to feel similar to a massaging effect by relaxing the muscles and blocking pain.

Is chiropractic electrotherapy expensive, and is it covered by my insurance?

Several of the newer products are available over the counter but may lack the strength and effectiveness that you would find in a clinical setting.

These over the counter devices sold without a prescription are not covered by insurance. Fortunately, most major medical insurance companies cover electrotherapy in a chiropractic office.

Electrical muscle stimulation therapy (EMS), and often times TENS of home units, are covered by insurance when prescribed for pain and injury recovery.

In summary, electrotherapy is used in chiropractic, physical therapy, pain management, and post-surgical care.

For patients concerned about the long term side effects of opiates or NSAIDS when managing pain, targeted electrotherapy offers significant potential benefits without potentially harmful side effects, when administered in a clinical setting.

In health,

Jeffrey S. Gerdes, D.C.

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Raleigh, NC 27607

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