As a part of a comprehensive physical therapy program, electrical stimulation is a therapeutic modality that is commonly used in physical therapy. Different types of electrical stimulation or E-stim may be used to accomplish different goals during the rehab program.
Physical therapy is generally for people who face difficulties in moving around after injury or illness. It helps them restore normal mobility. E-stim might be helpful in such cases, it can help get the body parts moving with the help of specific electrical tools and techniques.
What exactly is electrical stimulation?
Electrical stimulation or e-stim is a type of physiotherapy modality that focuses to cure the immobility caused after an injury. It is the method of elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses.
Types of Electrical Stimulation
Many different types of electrical stimulation may be used to attain different physiotherapy goals. Following are such different types:
TENS i.e.transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a type of physical therapy that helps to deal with acute and chronic pain in physical therapy. This method involves applying electrodes to the body over the painful areas and passing mild electrical current. These electrical impulses reduce the pain signals and block them from going to the spinal cord and brain which helps in alleviating pain and relaxing muscles. They are even known to stimulate the production of endorphins that are the body’s natural painkillers.
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES):
NMES i.e neuromuscular electrical stimulation involves using a device that sends electrical impulses to nerves. This act causes the muscles to contract and increase strength and range of motion. The contraction of the muscle doesn’t just improve muscle function it also promotes blood circulation to the areas that assist in healing. NMES even treats muscular spasms by tiring your muscles in spasm artificially and thus allowing it to relax.
Russian stimulation is the type of electrical stimulation that executes the same task as NMES. Russian stimulation too improves muscle contraction. The only difference between the two is that Russian stim uses a waveform which is known to be a little easier to tolerate.
Interferential therapy is often used to cure pain, reduce muscle spasm and improves localized blood flow in various muscles or tissues. The IFT machine for physiotherapy works by summing up two alternating current signals of different frequencies.
Iontophoresis is a process that involves delivering a drug into the body using a voltage gradient on the skin. It is an effective process to treat sports injuries. Different medication is induced into your body through this iontophoresis electrical stimulation to accomplish different goals. The addition of anti-inflammatory medicines during iontophoresis cures heel pain, other soft-tissue injuries or muscle spasm.
High voltage galvanic current (HVGC)
The process of high voltage galvanic current stimulation involves the usage of high voltage and low-frequency electricity to pierce deeply into tissues. It improves blood circulation, relieves pain, cures muscle spasm and improves joint mobility.
You have to keep in mind that several types of electrical stimulation are actually submissive treatment methods that require minimum to no efforts from your side. While some e-stim requires you to be active during the process. Although electrical stimulation may be worth giving a try, it should not be the only treatment you receive during physical therapy.
Many pieces of research have shown that active involvement in a physical therapy program that may or may not include electrical stimulation gives the best results.
Precautions to take
Some risks come with electric stimulation such as muscle tearing, skin irritation, or tissue burn.
In case of muscle tear
If the intensity of electrical stimulation gets too high to handle due to which you might feel severe muscle pain resulting in a muscle tear. In that case, stop the process immediately and start the treatment for muscle injury. The treatment may include taking proper rest, rubbing ice and elevation of the body part.
In case of skin irritation
At times people with sensitive skin suffer from skin irritation while using electrical stimulation because of the electrodes underneath the skin. In case you start feeling skin irritation stop the process immediately and apply a mild lotion all over the area.
In case of a tissue burn
Tissue burns occur due to the high-intensity application of electrical stimulation. Although it is very rare and unlikely to happen, if it still happens, again, stop the procedure immediately and provide your skin with an appropriate cure at that point.
There are alternatives to the electrical stimulation, reach out to your physical therapy specialist or a doctor to understand well about the treatment you require. We would recommend you to get yourself approved before trying any sort of electrical stimulation on your own.
What is Ultrasound Therapy?
Sound has been therapeutic and known to cure the body and mind in the form of music over centuries. However, little did we know about using its technological application until the late 19th century, ultrasound has been radically used in diagnostic and therapeutic measures ever since. As we know, as a matter of fact, millions of people all over the world suffer from chronic pain making their daily lives difficult. For years, experts have been seeking solutions to tackle this problem which has led to the discovery and practice of ultrasound therapy.
Because of the numerous benefits ultrasound therapy offers it is a breakthrough for everyone and is extremely important.
Home Ultrasound therapy
Ultrasound therapy machines for home use are portable which helps in the medical and physical procedure that uses very high-frequency sound waves, beyond the upper limit of hearing in humans; it provides a therapeutic effect and pain relief.
As per the basic physics, the sound is a form of energy and energy can be converted from one form to the other. The sound wave is mechanical energy that needs a medium of propagation and transmission like air, metal, wood, and water. The vibrations that come from these sound waves are perceived as sound in the ears, at a frequency of about 20 Hz – 20 kHz.
In ultrasound therapy, the ultrasound uses frequencies that are higher than 20 kHz. this super high-frequency wave is proven to be good for structures like ligaments, muscles, and tendons due to their positions in the body.
How does it work?
The ultrasound machines have a transducer that contains piezoelectric crystals. These crystals get exhilarated by a small electric current, leading it to emit the ultrasound waves (piezoelectric effect). For the process of healing these waves hit the various structures in the body, then they are reflected back to the crystal based on the density of the tissue or organ. This primarily has two effects:
1.Deep heating effects
1.Deep heating effects: when these waves hit the soft structures of the body, they generate heat. The generated heat helps improve blood circulation and oxygen of that part of the body. Blood has many nutrients and nourishing abilities that helps promote the healing and growth of the injured structures there. It also helps in reducing pain, joint stiffness, inflammation, and any muscle spasms.
2.Non-thermal effects (cavitation): a Sound is a form of energy so when it is introduced with the body, microscopic bubbles around the tissues expand and contract very fast which produces cavitation. This helps to speed up the cellular processes that the body undergoes, thereby facilitating healing.
Is there any side effect of using ultrasound therapy?
There’s no medical procedure that comes with 0% risk. However, there are some extremely low-risk routine procedures and ultrasound therapy fortunately is one of them. Ultrasound therapy is safe for all age groups and special groups like pregnant women too. The home ultrasound machine uses pulsed ultrasonic waves that have been proven to be safe. On the other hand, the ultrasound machine for medical diagnostics, which use continuous-wave which produces an increased risk to the person.
The rare side effects are mild heating and tissue vaporization. There are some precautions you must take into consideration like never using ultrasound therapy on an open wound, around the eyes or other sensitive areas.
Ultrasound therapy is painless
The home ultrasound therapy is totally safe, harmless and painless. When you keep the probe on one spot of your body that might cause some discomfort, which is why it should be moving slowly and not remain static. However, ultrasound therapy definitely does not hurt.
How to use an ultrasound therapy machine at home?
Below are the steps to use ultrasound therapy machine at home:
- Read the manual: Machines always come with manual, written instructions on how to operate them. Likewise, with the ultrasound machine, you would want to know the required preparations you need to carry out before you begin the therapy. The process may involve connecting the machine to the power outlet, ensuring the gel is ready for use, and leaving a damp towel you would need to clean up after the session is over.
- Apply the gel: Gently put the gel on the parts of the body you want to focus this treatment on which will ensure that the body part is adequately primed to receive the revitalizing therapy of the home ultrasound machine.
- The therapeutic session: Place the probe of the ultrasound on the affected areas where you have already put the gel after the preparatory phase. Start moving the head over the place slowly. You can either do it in a circular motion of linear fashion whichever is convenient for you. It should cover a skin surface area of about 1 inch per second. While moving over the bony prominences take caution since that can cause you a little discomfort.
- Post-session clean up: After finishing the session of about 20-25 minutes, clean the areas that have had therapy with the damp towel. Along with that, remove any extra gel from the body and clean the machine with a cloth, as a part of the care for it. Then put off the machine from the power source.
With this amount of information you can certainly decide what is right for you, the home physiotherapy ultrasound machine cures the affected areas with regular 10-15 minutes session. Generally, this method of ultrasound therapy is safe and has been used as a form of physical therapy for years now. The machine is helped a countless number of people while promoting healing and wellness. Make sure you make a wise investment in yourself.
Sudden inflammatory pain on the back of the neck that can make one unable to move neck around which further make the shoulder and back hurt is no ordinary stress in the neck; it can be Trapezitis.
What is Trapezitis?
There is a large, flat, superficial muscle extending from the cervical to thoracic region on the back of the neck and trunk called trapezius muscle which when gets inflamed causes severe neck pain or neck spasm. Such a condition of neck stiffness, along with shoulder and upper back pain is called Trapezitis.
The trapezius muscle is responsible for the most crucial function of the body like lifting the head upwards and shrugging off the shoulder. They facilitate movement, rotation, and stabilization of the shoulder blade.
Usually, it takes between 3-5 days for the trapezitis pain to go away, but if not handled well can turn into a highly disabling condition. Although some significant reasons for trapezitis are long seated working hours on a computer or a bad posture, other causes of trapezitis are;
- Performing any activity/profession without moving your head or keeping head bend for a prolonged period
- Driving without a break for long distances
- Breastfeeding baby by bending the shoulder
- Weak neck muscles due to trauma, fall, blow or any health condition
- Holding a phone between ear and shoulder
- Carrying heavyweights
- Sleeping on your back/stomach with your head turned one side
- Sports activities with sudden one-sided movements
Symptoms of Trapezitis
- Episodes of chronic neck pain in short intervals
- Headaches on the temples/base of the skull
- Severe neck stiffness
- An inflamed or aching shoulder
- Limited range of motion
- Nerve compression followed by tingling, numbness, or weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers on the affected side.
Trapezitis Treatment Options
Take a break from whatever strenuous activity you are doing and give plenty of rest to relax the strained muscle fibers.
An ice pack or cold compress on the affected area for at least 10-15 minutes can reduce swelling and inflammation incredibly well.
Using warm coconut or olive oil give the affected area a good deep massage to prevent muscle spasms.
Avoid or use a pillow that makes the body comfortable and keeps the spine properly aligned with the neck.
Wear a cervical collar to not only reduce the trapezitis pain but also to prevent unnecessary movement of the neck. It is advisable to avoid using it for long, or the condition can worsen.
Perform breathing exercises such as yoga to improve posture and promote proper blood circulation in the area and make it a habit to practice daily to reduce the chances of recurrence.
Start with trapezius exercises at home to strengthen your weak neck muscles. Or stretch the stress out. While working, make sure to stretch in between to release the tension accumulated in your neck muscles. Turn your head slowly to the left and the right or the right, so it’s parallel with your shoulder. Bring back to the center and make the same motion to the left, and repeat alternatively. You can also do the same by tilting your head to the left, keeping your nose facing forward. Place your left hand over your ear and lightly apply pressure. Use your right hand to reach behind your back from underneath. Touch your shoulder blade to ensure you’re keeping it down and to the back. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
If nothing works, the best option is to go for physical therapy. Bring home the best electrotherapy device called SONICTENS and start treating trapezitis on your own. It is safe, free from side effects, 100% natural, non-invasive, and above all, easy to operate. Its electrical impulses will work on your affected area and release the stress from the trigger points, thereby reducing the pain, swelling, or inflammation associated with trapezitis.
Joint pain is a trouble that is usually uninvited. It occurs due to various reasons like inflammation, injury, sprain or strain, bone infection or any other trait that causes damage to tissues or cartilage. These are common causes and most of the people are also aware about it. However, one of the most uncommon causes of joint pain is constipation. Yes you read that right! Constipation can cause joint pain. Let us see how!
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When your colon absorbs too much of water from your food; you experience tension and squeezing of muscles, which makes the stool movement slow. This criterion further causes physical inactivity and laziness. Basically, when colon bears the faces for long, body start reabsorbing the water and during this process those toxins that are to be excreted; sometimes they are absorbed by the body. This can give rise to pathogen levels in body and so your immune system gets busy in tackling the same. Hence, the repair process or the healing process meets a pause. When the body hit’s normalcy, i.e., when bowel system is regular, the immune system again gets active and releases cytokines- inflammatory mediators and that gets circulated in the entire body though blood, which causes the inception of aches and pain in the joints. The matter gets altogether more serious, when your body becomes a victim of Rheumatoid Arthritis- a condition when the pain flows in joints and muscles in varying degrees and intensity.
Those people, who already suffer from RA, have excessive growth of bacteria in their intestines, and when such people experience irregular bowler movements, those bacteria multiple, adding severity to the pain. Apart from that, during your constipation days, level of good bacteria is low, which causes a leaky gut and in turn increases the level of pathogenic bacteria or fungi in your intestines. This worsens the situation and elevates the pain.
These theories are sufficient to prove that a healthy bowel cycle is highly important. Apart from keeping uneasiness at distance it also helps you in maintaining internal body health. Many people have this myth in their head that we have to go to the toilet for three or four times in a day. It is not true at all because, the ideal bowel movements don’t exist. It varies from person to person. However, regular visit is better with once a day being the minimum requirement.
1. Make sure you do not delay your toilet visits. Elimination of toxins on sooner grounds is highly advisable.
2. Get habituated to light exercise.
3. Stay hydrated all the time.
4. Have healthy vegetables and fruits.
5. Reduce the consumption of fructose – generally found in soft drinks as it forces the liver to consume more energy in processing sugar and doesn’t let it concentrate on the task of detoxification.
6. Have dried fruits or any other fiber rich food.
7. If the problems don’t seem to end soon, consult a doctor.
No one is unaware about the importance of walking and jogging. These both are age-old expressions of aerobic exercise and help a person in improving his or her cardiovascular system. Apart from burning calories, these exercises also help in building endurance and fueling joint mobility. However, people of old age should be very particular about practicing them. In the later years of life, muscles are anyway weak and then when you go for high-intensity walks or jogs without much awareness, you might worsen your pain.
So here are some tips for all the old and adorable folks.
Walking is basically a low impact exercise; as while walking, either of your foot remains on the ground, controlling your body weight, and your knees have to absorb limited shock. Besides, your breathing pace is also moderate and manageable and is overall less stressful. However, it is important to note that causal walking or jaywalking won’t bring major health benefits.
Next comes the concept of brisk walking. 100 steps per minute account for moderate intensity brisk walking. It is walking with more speed and focus. It helps you to develop your stamina and can also control your body weight. It also helps in maintaining blood pressure and preventing type 2 diabetes. So if you are already in a habit of walking, try brisk walking. It is not mandatory that you should reach the standard mark or count. You can build your pace overtime and increase the same. You can practice normal and brisk walking together. Say for example you brisk walk for 15 minutes, and then continue with regular walking.
Benefits of walking
1. Reduce risk of heart problems
2. Reduce risk of hypertension
3. Increase muscle strength
4. Polish the sense of balance
5. Help in getting sound sleep
Jogging is the low intensity form of running which has its own set of benefits and risks too. It helps you lead a healthier life but can even be problematic if carried out carelessly. An elderly person, suffering from osteoporosis or arthritis when takes up jogging, might face more pain due to excessive pressure and shock as, jogging is considered as a high impact exercise wherein, movements are lot quicker. Besides, in old age, jogging can also cause tiredness, fracture, ankle twist or any other injury. So it is better to opt for jogging in old age only if you are pretty much used to with. Nevertheless, these factors in no way eliminate the major health benefits jogging has to offer.
Benefits of jogging
1. Strengthens heart muscles
2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems
3. Helps to shed extra weight
4. Improves bone density
Make sure that you are wearing right type of shoes. It will reduce the chances of accidents and will help you to get effective results.
Stay hydrated all the time.
Stretch a bit before hitting the ground.
Walk or jog indoors in case of extreme climatic conditions.
You are living a myth if you think that spine problems occur only in old-age. Because of poor food eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and lack of awareness, many young and old people suffer from spine problems. So here are some useful exercises and working out alternatives that can bring you the gift of a healthy and flexible spine.
a) Spine stretch:
Sit on the floor and spread your legs as wide as you could. Slowly move your head down, bend forward by balancing your body weight on the hips. Try to reduce the distance between your chin and neck by approaching your chin towards the neck. Once you feel the stretch get going to the starting position. Para spinal muscles-the one alongside the spine gets a good stretch through this exercise, which makes your spine elastic. Besides, it improves blood circulation and reduces tension between muscles along with lengthening them.
b) Low-back rotation:
Sit in an alert position on a chair with your feet being straight and facing the ground. Slowly, rotate your upper body in either right or left direction. You can get hold of the chair. Let the lower body stay stable. Once you feel the stretch, get back in shape with your body and then rotate your upper body in the other direction and get to the starting positing once the pull is felt. This exercise can open up the thoracic spinal region and give a stretch to your soft tissues and muscles.
c) Forward bend:
Sit on the ground with your legs straight and extended (facing your face). Touch your feet with your hands or if you are comfortable hold your toes with your fingers and move down towards your knees. If you are not flexible enough then, hook a towel or stall (cotton material) around the bottom of your feet and hold it tight and then bend forward. This intense exercise stretches the hamstrings and also stimulates the inner legs.
d) Spinal trunk rotation
Lie down on the floor at your back. Let your palm rest on your stomach and move your legs upwards, with feet touching the ground. Slowly move your legs towards either right or left side. Make sure that both your legs are stuck to each other. Repeat it in both directions. All through the while, keep your body relaxed and pinned to the ground. It will improve spine pain mobility and will also lubricate lumbar spine and hips.
e) Knee pull
Lie on the floor with your back straight and resting on the ground. Lift your legs in the air at 45 degree angles. Move one of your legs towards your chest and hold it with both your hands and pull it towards the torso. Then take your leg downwards and repeat the same with other leg. It helps in making the spine flexible and more agile.
If the pain is unbearable, see a doctor. Besides, you can always resort to physiotherapy devices in case of chronic or acute pain issues.