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How E-stim Works to Relieve Pain

By Rachel Carver

When we have a spinal issue, we know our chiropractor will most likely treat this pain with a spinal adjustment. The natural and unique adjustment methods in the chiropractic profession have provided pain relief for many years. 

If chiropractic is unable to resolve muscle pain, other pain management tools may be helpful, including a physical therapy procedure known as electronic muscle stimulation or e-stim.

During an e-stim treatment, electrical pulses copy actions made by your nervous system sell signals. These mild electrical currents can treat pain in muscles and nerves. For muscle recovery, e-stim sends signals to targeted muscles. These signals cause multiple muscle contractions, repairing injured muscles through improved blood flow.

How E-stim Works

Electrodes connected to an electric stimulus machine are placed on the painful area of your neck or back during an e-stim treatment. The placement of the electrodes will depend on your pain source. The electrodes are sticky pads that connect to the machine. They might feel cold against your skin when applied.

With controls, your chiropractor will adjust the machine until you experience a prickly sensation. You should feel this sensation but do not want to be uncomfortable.

After about 15 minutes, the electrodes will be removed. A sticky adhesive keeps them still on your skin and will not hurt when removed.

Here are some E-stim types that are available.

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS) is the most common e-stim type, TENS unit electrodes are placed directly on the skin of the painful area. The electrodes send signals along the nerve fibers to prevent at least some of the pain signals from reaching your brain.
  • Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) uses stronger currents to contract the muscles. The electrodes -- also placed on the skin near the painful area -- cause rhythmic contractions. If the muscle is moved at the same time, these contractions can improve muscle strength.
  • Electrical stimulation for tissue repair can reduce swelling, increase circulation, and quickly heal wounds.
  • Interferential current reduces pain through nerve stimulation.

Head to The Joint Chiropractic clinic near you if you are in need of some pain relief. The Joint team will recommend a pain treatment plan to fit your needs. But if muscle pain persists despite your chiropractor's best efforts, e-stim might be an effective part of your treatment. The Joint offers walk-in visits and affordable pricing.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Auburn, Calif.

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