Electrotherapy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Bann CryoSpa offer a number of therapeutic modalities which include Ultrasound Therapy and Electrical Stimulation.
Ultrasound therapy is a treatment modality used by physical therapists or occupational therapists to treat pain conditions, and to promote tissue healing.
There are two main types of ultrasound therapy: thermal and mechanical. Both use sound waves generated through a transducer head (which looks a bit like a microphone) to penetrate soft tissues. The difference between the two types of ultrasound therapy is the rate at which the sound waves penetrate the tissues.
- Thermal ultrasound therapy
Thermal ultrasound therapy uses a more continuous transmission of sound waves. The sound waves cause microscopic vibrations in the deep tissue molecules, increasing heat and friction. The warming effect encourages healing in the soft tissues by increasing the metabolism at the level of the tissue cells.
- Mechanical ultrasound therapy
Mechanical ultrasound therapy uses pulses of sound waves to penetrate tissues. While this still has a minor warming effect on the tissues, it also causes expansion and contraction in the tiny gas bubbles of the soft tissues. This helps to decrease the inflammatory response, reducing tissue swelling and thus decreasing pain.
The type of ultrasound therapy you receive depends on your condition. If you have myofascial pain, or had a muscle strain or sprain that has not healed, your therapist will likely use thermal ultrasound therapy. If your pain is caused by scar tissue or swelling, such as with carpal tunnel syndrome, you may benefit more from mechanical ultrasound therapy.
How Ultrasound Therapy Is Performed
Your therapist will select a small surface area to work on for anywhere from five to 10 minutes. Gel is applied either to the transducer head or to your skin, which helps the sound waves evenly penetrate the skin. During your ultrasound therapy treatment, your therapist will continually move the transducer head over and around the selected area.
Will I Feel Anything During Ultrasound Therapy?
Some people feel a mild pulsing during ultrasound therapy, while others may feel slight warmth in the skin. Don't be surprised, however, if you feel nothing at all, apart from the cold gel on your skin. If the area being treated is especially sensitive to touch, you could possibly feel discomfort as the transducer head passes over. Ultrasound therapy, however, should not be painful.
Electrical Stimulation is a type of therapeutic treatment that can serve many different purposes. It can be used to decrease pain and inflammation, improve circulation, and it can help your muscles contract properly.
This list of different types of electrical stimulation can help you understand how it is commonly used in physical therapy. Be sure to ask your therapist about your specific needs and gains that are expected when you use electrical stimulation in the physical therapy clinic.
Transcutaenus electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a type of electrical stimulation used to help decrease acute and chronic pain. TENS works by altering or interrupting the painful signals that travel from injured tissues to your brain.
- Russian Stimulation
Russian stimulation is a form of electrical stimulation that uses electricity to contract muscle tissue. After injury or surgery, you may be experiencing muscle weakness. Often, muscles are inhibited after an injury and are unable to generate a forceful contraction. Russian stimulation is used to help improve the contraction of your muscles.
- Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is used much like Russian stimulation. Your therapist may use NMES to help your muscles contract properly after injury or surgery. This form of muscular re-education can be useful in helping you return to normal function quickly after an injury or surgery.
- Interferential Current (IFC)
Inferential current (IFC) electrical stimulation is a type of electrical stimulation that your therapist may use to help decrease your pain and improve circulation
to injured tissues. The IFC works much like TENS, but the current can be easily moved and varied to target your most painful area of injury.
- High Voltage Stimulation
High voltage electrical stimulation is a type of electrical stimulation that your therapist may use to help decrease your pain or improve circulation. It is also occasionally used to help with wound healing.
Iontophoresis is a type of electrical stimulation used to administer medication into your body through your skin. The medication, such as dexamethasone, can be used to help decrease inflammation, decrease localized swelling, or decrease muscle spasm. Some medication used in iontophoresis can also help to decrease calcium deposits and can be used to help manage scar tissue.