Electrotherapy and its uses

Electrotherapy refers to the use of electrical energy as a treatment method to reduce pain, strengthen muscles and speed up wound healing process. At City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy, our experienced practitioners are well-equipped to provide 3 electrotherapy modalities, after careful examination of your condition. Do note that while electrotherapy is in itself effective, best results are seen when used adjunct with a tailored prescribed exercise program. Do give us a call to find out more!

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is an increasingly popular, non-invasive form of electrotherapy. Mechanical energy generated by shockwaves induces changes in the cellular skeleton and influence diverse cell structures (such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, intracellular vesicles etc..), which leads to an improved healing process. Since its early development in the 1980s and 90s, ESWT has evolved tremendously and is now established as an effective treatment method, especially for bone and tendon injuries.

Common conditions that will benefit from ESWT:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Patella tendinopathy
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Tennis elbow
  • Rotator cuff-related shoulder pain

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy employs the use of high-frequency sound waves as a non-invasive method of effecting soft tissue changes in the body. The 2 common types of ultrasound treatment are thermal ultrasound and mechanical therapy. Thermal ultrasound relies on heating up the targeted tendons, muscles and other tissues in order to improve blood flow and accelerate healing. Mechanical therapy on the other hand uses the pulsating effect of sound waves to penetrate tissues in order to reduce inflammation and swelling. Medical uses of ultrasound began as early as the 1930s, and by the 1970s, therapeutic ultrasound was well-established for physiotherapy.

Common conditions that will benefit from ultrasound therapy:

  • Bursitis
  • Tunnel syndrome
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Patella tendinitis
  • Acute joint swelling

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is a treatment method that uses repeated application of small electric impulses on a targeted muscle, to produce contraction by depolarising local motor nerves. First experimented with in the 18th century (an electric fish was used to treat gout!), the modern use of the technique has since evolved to the stimulation of nerves through surface electrode pads.

During prolonged periods of immobilisation due to injuries or inactivity, the muscle can rapidly lose mass and strength. NMES serves as a method to increase muscle strength, blood circulation and range of motion, and to lessen muscle spasms. NMES is most effective when coupled with voluntary strengthening exercises.

Common conditions that will benefit from NMES:

  • Chronic ankle instability
  • Post knee surgery
  • Stroke
  • Paralysis

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