How to Use Electrical Muscle Stimulation for Pain Relief

3 min read

You may have heard about using electrical muscle stimulation (sometimes referred to as e-stim or EMS) for fitness, but did you know it can help those who are experiencing pain? This treatment can help you avoid the use of pain medication. Plus you can relieve pain quicker by adding e-stim as part of a chiropractic care plan.

EMS can work to help relieve pain that is caused by an ongoing condition or by a recent injury. It delivers targeted electrical impulses that make your muscles contract. How does this work to relieve pain? Would it work for you? 

What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation?

Electrical muscle stimulation uses low-voltage electric pulses to stimulate muscles that, in turn, contract. This helps the muscles relax and increases blood flood which helps with healing. The pulses also help the nerves block pain signals from going to the brain.

The most common way EMS is used by Village Chiropractic is to relieve back and neck pain. It’s often part of a chiropractic treatment plan used with other treatments such as spinal manipulation or cold laser therapy.  It’s a method that has been around for quite some time. EMS is easy to use, safe, and cost effective. 

What Conditions Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Treat?

If you suffer from chronic pain, especially in the neck or back you’re likely to be a good candidate for EMS. Conditions we treat that cause chronic (ongoing) pain include:

  • Arthritis of the back, neck, knee or other area of the body
  • Degenerative disc disease causing a narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Fibromyalgia nerve pain

Acute injuries, or those that are likely to fully heal with time and treatment, can use EMS for pain relief and faster healing. These can include injuries often experienced by an athlete such as:

  • Tendonitis
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Bursitis

How Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Feel?

In terms of how it feels, many people describe EMS as a slight tingling or like ants walking across your skin. When you're getting electrical muscle stimulation, you shouldn't experience pain or discomfort, even if your muscles are contracting. EMS is applied during periods when your muscles are at rest so your body doesn't tense up during treatment. 

What are the Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation? 

Some of the benefits of EMS include:

  • Few side-effects
  • Non-invasive - no surgery required to relieve pain!
  • No change to your activity level
  • Treats both chronic and acute pain
  • Quicker results when combined with other therapies

Are There any Risks of EMS Treatment?

Because of the use of electronic pulses, ​​EMS is not advised for patients who have pacemakers or implanted heart devices. You should also talk to your chiropractor about any known heart arrhythmia before using EMS. Women who see a chiropractor during pregnancy won’t be given EMS although other chiropractic treatments are available to help reduce pain. 

While EMS is very low risk with few side effects, if you're concerned about whether or not EMS is safe for you, discuss your concerns with the chiropractor before you start a treatment plan.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation for Pain Relief in The Woodlands

When individuals experience pain or discomfort, it can interfere with their ability to participate in daily activities and exercise. EMS may be used to improve physical function and stop the pain quicker than with just over the counter medications. To learn more about EMS and if it’s right for your specific pain, request an appointment at Village Chiropractic in the Woodlands for an appointment. Our experienced team will be happy to assess the cause of your pain and create a plan to help you find relief fast.

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