Electric Therapy refers to therapies that utilize electric current for healing purposes. These therapies alleviate pain, promote healing of wounds, joints, or muscles, and as a treatment for chronic depression.
Types of Electric Therapy
General and Muscle Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation will treat pain, muscle problems, joint dysfunction, reduce edema, calm muscle spasms, prevent muscle atrophy, treat osteoarthritis, and to accelerate the healing of wounds. Physicians may use H-wave electrical stimulation, high voltage galvanic (pulse) stimulation, interferential, or horizontal electrical therapy, depending on the illness, or injury.
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)
NMES uses electrical pulses to stimulate groups of muscles in patients with spinal cord injuries. It allows them stand or walk to improve and maintain good muscle tone. NMES also benefits patients with muscle atrophy by improving their functioning.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS is a portable electronic device that supplies stimulation to the skin’s surface at a point of pain. It relieves chronic and post-surgical pain, or pain related to a traumatic injury. A similar therapy is percutaneous electrical neurostimulation (PENS). It serves the same purpose as TENS, but the electrodes are surgically implanted next to, or around the painful site.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
During ECT, electric currents pass through the patient’s brain to trigger a brief seizure. This seems to change the brain’s chemistry, reducing or ameliorating symptoms of severe depression, schizophrenia, severe mania (intense hyperactivity), and catatonia (lack of movement). ECT may be used for treatment-resistant OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette syndrome.
Electric Therapy is An Adjunct Therapy
Electric therapy is given by doctors and physical therapists, although most of the treatments (not ECT) can be self-administered in the home. This is convenient because the therapy is often needed over extended periods of time. Electric therapy is always an auxiliary part of a patient’s overall treatment regimen. Its purpose is to improve their quality of life.