Part of what makes chiropractic care unique is the focus on spinal adjustments, but they aren’t the only form of treatment that we use to manage our patient’s care. We provide our patients with natural, non-invasive, drug-free forms of therapy that use heat, cold, light, massage water, and exercise. When done in a controlled environment, these and other elements have a beneficial influence on the body and its functions and can help with a number of problems. One of the types of therapy we use is electrical stimulation. Here’s what you need to know.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation
During this form of therapy, electrodes are placed on the skin and light electrical pulses are sent to different areas of the body with the purpose of relieving muscle spasms, reducing inflammation, and treating back pain.
The most common form of electrical stimulation is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators, or TENS units. These units feature electrodes that are placed over the area in pain and the user has the power to control the intensity of the electrical stimulation. It is common belief that TENS help block the transmission of pain signals along the nerves and also release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
TENS is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the most successful and effective treatment methods available for chiropractic patients who have been suffering from chronic, long term conditions that cause physical discomfort and pain. So what exactly is it about TENS that makes it so effective?
The use of a low voltage electrical current works to restore mobility to an area of the body that was previously immobilized while also relieving stiffness. Don’t let the term “electrical current” get to you. This type of therapy is not at all like an accidental shock you might have experienced before. A TENS unit can be used in the comfort of your own home and is about the size of a pocket radio. We will teach you how to place the electrodes (which are the wires that the electrical current is conducted through) to the skin on top of the areas of the body that are painful.
These electrodes can even be placed on pressure points for a sort of acupressure style method of pain relief. This will allow a circuit of electricity to travel along the nerve fibers in the body.
All of this doesn’t sound too bad, right? But how does it all work? There are two main theories to explain why electrical stimulation therapy is so successful for so many people. First, the electrical current seems to scramble the nerves up in a way that blocks normal pain signals from entering the brain. The other main theory claims that when the nerves are stimulated by electricity, the production of endorphins is promoted, which are the feel good chemical naturally bringing pain relief.
If you think a TENS unit might be right for you, contact our practice or ask during your next consultation. You can even enjoy $10 off our TENS unit with the code OCTTENS!