When a treatment has a name like interferential electro-muscle stimulation, it can be hard to imagine what the treatment might be and how it might help reduce your pain. Luckily, we’ve used this treatment successfully on our clients and know how it works to get rid of pain. Here’s what you need to know about interferential electro-muscle stimulation and how it can help your pain go away.
Luckily, we’ve used this treatment successfully on our clients and know how it works to get rid of pain. Here’s what you need to know about interferential electro-muscle stimulation and how it can help your pain go away.
What is Interferential Electro-Muscle Stimulation?
Through small electrical pads attached to the area being treated, interferential electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) sends low-level electrical impulses into the treatment area. These electrical impulses can be used to help with muscle spasms, pain, and promote healing for soft tissue problems.
Some people are concerned when they hear that this treatment uses electrical impulses, but the electrical impulses are quite low (less than 250 pps, or pulses per second) and are very safe. The frequency must be varied, as Professor Tim Watson explains, “Nerves will accommodate to a constant signal & a sweep (or gradually changing frequency is often used to overcome this problem. The frequency is always within safe parameters.
Furthermore, the way the frequency is set up for EMS removes the discomfort experienced through other electro-muscle treatments. As Professor Watson explains, the low frequency effect is created by using two medium-frequency currents that interfere with each other, which “gives rise to an interference current (or beat frequency) which has the characteristics of low frequency stimulation.”
How Does Interferential Electro-Muscle Stimulation Work to Reduce Pain?
Interferential electro-muscle stimulation works a few different ways, depending on what you’re trying to do. For example, when treating muscle spasms, EMS works to tire muscles out so that they will relax. Interferential electro-muscle stimulation is also effective at reducing the pain associated with the conditions it treats. The electrical impulses help interrupt the pain signals traveling from the area that hurts to the brain. This signal disruption and the release of feel-good endorphins help to reduce the pain experienced by patients.
And research supports this. Upon reviewing data from over a dozen studies,determined that “when included in a multimodal treatment plan, IFC [interferential therapy] displayed a pain-relieving effect (VAS reduction of over 2 points) compared with a control condition.”
According to “Bioelectricity and microcurrent therapy for tissue healing – a narrative review” by Leon Poltawsky and Tim Watson, “Microcurrent appears to play a significant role in the healing process, and MCT can promote healing in a variety of bone and skin lesions.” Professor Tim Watson further explains on his website electrotherapy.org that several studies “provide substantive evidence for a pain relief effect.” Watson states that higher frequencies could be used to “stimulate the pain gate mechanisms & thereby mask the pain symptoms” and lower frequencies to”activate the opioid mechanisms, again providing a degree of relief.”
Further research will help us expand our knowledge of how to use this treatment to help pain sufferers. At present, the current evidence from studies and the significant evidence from those treated using interferential electro-muscle stimulation are sufficient to make this treatment a valuable tool.
We Can Help You With Your Pain
Our experienced chiropractor, Dr. Alec Khlebopros, practices a wealth of services, treatment options, and procedures that help to restore patients to their healthy selves.
Click here to contact Proactive Chiropractic for a consultation today in our Charlotte, NC chiropractic office, or fill in the form on our contact page and a member of our staff will be in touch soon.