Electrotherapy is a branch of physical therapy that deals with symptomatic treatment of diseases through the use of various types of healing electrical currents. Treatment involves direct current and low and medium frequency impulse currents. The main goal of electrotherapy is to relieve pain, improve blood supply to the stimulated tissue, and to accelerate the absorption of intra-articular edema and exudates. There are several types of electrotherapeutic treatments.
Galvanic current – tissues are subjected to the constant flow of electic current. This has an analgesic effect.
Indications: degenerative changes of spine, neuralgias, peripheral nerve injury, post-traumatic bone injuries
Iontophoresis – introduction of medication into a tissue throught the use of electric current
Indications: delayed bone union, neuralgias, sciatica, contractures caused by scars, joint inflammation, inflammatory conditions of the skin and soft tissues
TENS currents – analgesic action achieved using medium and high frequency currents. The analgesic effect is based on reducing pain through nerve stimulation.
Indications: acute and chronic pain syndromes of the muscles, spine and joints; neuralgias.
DD Diadynamic currents – modulated low frequency currents arising from imposition of sinusoidal currents onto a constant current. An advantage of thes currents is pain reduction, which results from long-term increase in pain threshold.
Indications: Discopathy, sciatica, brachialgia, degenerative disease of the spine, neuralgias, migraine headaches, muscle atrophy due to physical inactivity, Bell’s palsy
ID interference currents – medium frequency currents which are created as the result of overlap of two alternating currents through tissue. These currents increase blood flow and have an analgesic effect.
Indications: back pain syndromes, osteoarthritis of the limbs, discopathy, muscle atrophy resulting from inactivity, post-traumatic and postoperative muscle conditions, rheumatic soft tissue changes, neuralgias
Trabert currents – these currents effect the nervous system through reflex archs, improving blood and nutrient supply of tissues, as well as in conditions affecting peripheral circulation.
Indications: increased muscle tone, ischemic conditions of limbs, spinal degenerative disease, spinal pain syndromes
Electrostimulation – based on stimulation of muscle through electric currents. The goal of this procedure is create muscle contraction.
Kotz currents – training healthy muscles through stimulation using medium-frequency currents. These currents cannot be applied to therapies involving muscles with damaged innervation.
Contraindications to electrotherapy:
- allergy to drugs used in iontophoresis
- use around the heart or eyes
- active tuberculosis
- cardiovascular disease
- electronic or metal implants
- skin damage or inflammatory skin conditions
- uncertainty surrounding states of cancer
- impaired sensation at electrode placement point
- abnormal psychological states or psychoorganic syndromes
- multiple sclerosis
- inflammatory disease of veins and deep vessels
conditions of decreased sensation