Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation, delivers low level electrical pulses to injured, painful tissues to reduce pain, clear the cellular effects of inflammation and speed healing. Variations in settings produce different clinical results – from decreasing spasm by tiring the targeted, to stimulating your body’s production of naturally occurring opiate compounds (endorphins and enkephalins) to manage pain.
Types of EMS include interferential current, Russian stimulation and microcurrent. Patients usually describe the experience as a tingling sensation that is generally pleasing and easily tolerated.
Can I do electrical muscle stimulation with my TENS unit?
EMS produces a different clinical result than does TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), although both types of therapy use electrical impulses, and both therapies can decrease pain. The results of TENS therapy is typically not as long-lasting as are the results of EMS. This particular current stimulates the body to produce enkephalins, which are the shorter-acting type of opiate compound our bodies produce naturally for pain relief. Many refer to TENS as an “electrical aspirin.”
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