Electrotherapy is the use of electricity as a form of treatment for soft tissue injuries. There are many different forms of electrotherapy, many of which are listed below:
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation - TENS
- Magnetic field therapy
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
- Pulsed short wave (diathermy) therapy
- Exogen bone healing system
Electrotherapy is used world-wide as a form of treatment for soft tissue injuries such as ligament tears and tendinopathies. Whilst there is very little evidence from research projects to support it's use, clinical evidence and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of therapists and patients demonstrate that it can be effective.
Benefits of electrotherapy
The aims of most forms of electrotherapy include:
- Increasing blood flow to the injured area, which promotes healing.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Decrease in pain.
- Break down of scar tissue and adhesions.
They also have the benefits of being easy to use and apply, pain-free and causing no side-effects to the patient.
As with many forms of medical treatment, there are certain circumstances when electrotherapy should not be used. These include:
- In the acute stage of an injury, where there may still be bleeding.
- Over metal pins, plates etc.
- On cancerous tissue.
- Over infected tissue.
- Over sensitive areas (such as the testicles)
- On the chest of patients with pacemakers.
- Over the back or abdomen of pregnant women.