Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) or electromyostimulation, is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. The impulses mimic the action potential that comes from the central nervous system, causing the muscles to contract.
Electrical muscle stimulation is used at the pain relief center by placing pads on or around the injured area and/or muscle, which send electrical pulses into the area of concern. This type of chiropractic physiotherapy is beneficial for reducing pain, increasing blood flow into the injured area, and increasing healing.
How Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Work?
This treatment is performed here in our office, and usually only takes a few minutes. Electrodes are placed on the skin over the affected area, and the machine is turned on. An electrical current is then transmitted into the soft tissue or muscle. The level of current used depends on the injury, its location, and how deep the therapy will be. This electrical current causes the muscles to experience very small but quick contractions. During the treatment, patients may feel a prickly or tingling sensation; however, these sensations will subside after the machine is turned off, or shortly afterward. Many patients enjoy the sensation.
Electrical muscle stimulation creates tiny contractions in the muscles so they become tired and relax, relieving pain and muscle spasms. In addition, it triggers the release of endorphins, which are our body’s natural pain reliever. The process is also said to clear metabolic waste so nutrients can be better delivered and soft tissue can heal more quickly.
Back muscles and neck muscles are common locations for EMS; however, there are many areas of the body that can experience the benefits of this treatment.
Electrical muscle stimulation works well for both acute and chronic pain. If you have been struggling with pain or have recently suffered an injury, ask your chiropractor if electrical muscle stimulation is right for you.