Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) devices are used in a variety of different therapeutic settings. An EMS device accepts an electrical current from a battery or outlet and is able to send that current through wires and electrodes into the skin of a patient. The electricity then triggers the muscles under the electrode to contract involuntarily. The result is that blood flows into the area and the muscles temporarily gains some added strength. There are a wide range of therapeutic applications for EMS devices.
Prevention Of Atrophy
Muscle atrophy can occur when a patient is unable to move for long periods of time. This can result from paralysis, coma or a temporary injury that restricts movement during recovery. Extended periods of complete inactivity will lead to damage to muscles that eventually results in a reduction in muscle mass that can make it impossible to move normally in the future. EMS devices can be used to stimulate muscles so that blood and oxygen reach the tissue. When performed regularly this will prevent atrophy and preserve the mobility of the patient.
The electrical signals that are sent from an EMS device can be used to help relieve the pain that is experienced because of muscle spasms. The device is able to counteract the electrical signals sent by the body forcing the muscles to relax. This is done by generating enough movement to cause fatigue in the muscles. Additionally, the signals temporarily affect the nerves in the immediate area. This results in muscle relaxation that is accompanied by a reduction in pain. The treatment is used by physical therapists to deal with back pain and some severe cramping after vigorous activities.
An EMS device can be used on the legs in order to prevent blood clots and other problems that result in conditions like venous thrombosis. The electrical impulses trigger the movement of entire muscle groups in individuals who might not be able to generate the same motions without assistance. This draws blood into the area to service the muscles. The result is that blood flow increases over the course of the therapy session boosting circulation and preventing the pooling of blood in the veins. Increased circulation stops the formation of clots and other obstructions.
Certain types of injuries can benefit from the use of an EMS device. The electricity that is transmitted into the body causes an increase in the circulation of blood so that more white blood cells and other compounds are moved into the area. Additionally, the electrical stimulation increases the synthesis of the proteins that are necessary for healing. Extended use for serious injuries will also help to restore connective tissue in the body.
Patients who have experienced an injury that results in a reduced range of motion can slowly regain full mobility through the use of EMS devices, exercise and physical therapy. The stimulation of the muscles increases their strength for a short period of time. This added strength can be used to perform unassisted forms of physical therapy that will permanently strength the area. Over time this treatment will provide the patient with the maximum achievable range of motion.
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