Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
After your car accident did your chiropractor talk to you about a treatment based on Electricle Muscle Stimulation? If so you are not alone. Many chiropractors use EMS machines to treat their patients after they were involved in auto accidents.
EMS is the stimulation of a muscle contraction using electric impulses.
While used in other medical and athletical setups, in chiropractic care EMS is used as a rehabilitation tool for injured patients.
The electrical impulses are generated by a device and transmitted through the skin using electrodes (pads). The impulses are similar to the ones coming from the nervous system causing the muscles to contract.
In chiropractic and physical therapy, especially after musuculoskeletal injuries (such as damage to the bones, muscles or ligaments), the EMS is a very effective and easy to deliver rehab treatment.
There are different levels of "current" that can be delivered to your body and the chiropractor can control that level from the device. The treatment is not painful and you can always tell the doctor when to stop increasing the intensity of the electrical stimulation.
Pain relief and muscle re-education are the two main effects of EMS. According to livestrong.com, "based on the Gate Control Theory pain signals are sent to the brain via nerves but must pass through a gate".
"The stim sensation passes through this gate then blocking the nerves that deliver the pain sensation."
In terms of muscle re-education, EMS is generally used after an orthopedic surgery as a result of car accident or other type of personal injury. In these scenarios the muscles have trouble contracting or moving. "Doing EMS while having the subject actively try to contract the muscle can sometimes get the brain to re-learn how to contract the muscle on its own."
E-stims have many benefits: they are non-addictive, cost-effective and they provide a great alternative to taking pain medication.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation is also used in conjunction with cold ice and ultrasound therapies. For patients with serious injuries caused by car accident, auto accidents and other types of personal injuries there is usually a need for repeated, consistent sessions of therapy.
If you have any questions on EMS, please give Dr. Exposito a call 786-372-3950!
Dr. Susan Exposito
For this article I used the following references: