Getting back to optimal health from sprains, strains, and other injuries is a primary reason people visit doctors of chiropractic. One of the treatment possibilities, if indicated by a physical exam, is electrical stimulation, referred to as “E-stim.” E-stim is not a stand-alone treatment but typically used as one of many complementary treatments in chiropractic care.
What is E-stim?
Electric muscle stimulation (E-stim) is a treatment option or rehabilitation from an injury. One of the benefits of electric muscle stimulation is speeding up the body’s natural recovery process. Other E-stim benefits are relieving pain in the body, reducing swelling, and promoting general muscle tone.
Electrical stimulation works by providing electrical impulses to nerve endings in an area of injury. The stimulation soothes the nerve endings, provides pain relief, and may also increase blood flow to speed up healing in injured tissues.
You may not realize it, but many high-level athletes use electrical muscle stimulation after vigorous physical activity. Using electrical muscle stimulation after workouts helps reduce swelling and minimizes soreness, factors that affect performance. In addition, athletes who use electrical muscle stimulation in their chiropractic care between activities often have less muscle stiffness. The low levels of electric currents help keep muscles warm when they aren’t in use during physical activity.
Here’s How E-stim Therapy Works
Typically, the body’s central nervous system will transmit information, such as the message to contract a specific muscle, throughout the body via its internal electric impulses. The electric impulses created by an E-stim device simulate what naturally happens in the body when a muscle voluntarily contracts and releases.
Electrical stimulation treatments involve the use of pads connected to an electrical stimulation device. Your chiropractor will attach these pads, called electrodes, to the skin above the affected soft tissue. Through the E-stim device, the electrodes deliver specific, brief electric impulses. These impulses can vary in intensity, depending on the device’s setting, the area being treated, and the patient’s preference.
This repetitive contracting and relaxing motion strengthens and helps repair soft tissue, particularly muscles that are weakened, shortened, or injured. The electrical impulses are also believed to block the activity of pain receptors responsible for sending pain messages from the injury site to the brain.
The electrical impulses are also believed to block the activity of pain receptors responsible for sending pain messages from the injury site to the brain.
What to Know if Your Chiropractor Recommends E-stim Therapy
You should know that treatments using electrical stimulation are extremely safe. Side effects to E-stim treatments are rare, although there can be redness at the site of electrodes, reaction to the adhesive on the electrodes, or temporary minor numbness after treatment.
For most people, the muscle contractions are barely noticeable or can resemble painless, involuntary twitches. Many patients find E-stim treatments as relaxing as they are therapeutic.
Chiropractic Care is Important for Overall Health
Your doctor of chiropractic is a specialist in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. The chiropractic profession seeks to preserve and restore health in many ways: good nutrition, constructive exercise, stress management, posture, and proper spinal and extremity joint biomechanics.
CUKC Chiropractic Health Center
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health science-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center provides chiropractic care to patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide next-level care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.