Electrical muscle stimulation therapy, or EMS, is localized stimulation of muscle fibers and groups of muscles to promote healing, increase blood circulation, decrease muscles spasms and build muscle strength. Electrode patches are strategically placed on the skin and deliver low-level electricity to the target muscle.
The electric current mimics the central nervous system’s natural ability to signal the muscle to contract. In normal muscle contractions, only 30 percent of the muscle fibers are activated. EMS encourages the normally unstimulated muscle fibers to contract. This increased muscle fiber activity improves both the endurance and power of the muscle. EMS is most often used for recovery and rehabilitation.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation Therapy Benefits
EMS is most often used in the prevention and treatment of muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy can result from an accident, injury or a chronic illness. Even if the bones, joints, tendons or ligaments are damaged, EMS can strengthen the surrounding muscle thereby aiding in rehabilitation.
The muscles can be re-trained and activated when the patient has trouble moving a muscle or joint. EMS can also re-train your brain to send messages via the nerve pathways to muscles. Each electrical pulse stimulates the muscles to contract until the muscle is strong enough for more advanced forms of therapy.
Another benefit of EMS is its ability to reduce painful muscle spasms. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by increasing circulation. EMS can also be used to strengthen and reduce fatigue and soreness in athlete’s muscles.
Many athletes use EMS after intense workouts or training to repair overworked muscles. In general, EMS does not promote weight loss or muscle sculpting on its own but can be added to a regimen to target certain muscles.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation as Part of Rehabilitation
Electrical muscle stimulation therapy is best provided by a chiropractor or spine specialist. Knowledge of how the muscle groups are connected and interact with the spine and joints is a key component to proper recovery. EMS is non-painful and non-invasive. It is currently regulated and approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA). For those who have a pacemaker, are pregnant or have certain skin diseases EMS may not be an ideal form of therapy.
EMS is most effective when used in conjunction with other forms of rehabilitation and strength training. At The Spine and Wellness Centers, we offer an array of recovery and rehabilitation services. We oversee the rehabilitation and treatment process from start to finish, offering personalized one-on-one care.
Our knowledgeable and experienced chiropractor will create a treatment plan based on your specific needs. EMS can be an effective tool to reduce pain and inflammation and increase recovery times when used as part of a tailored recovery plan.