Electrical stimulation (e-stim) is the use of a device to send gentle electrical pulses through the skin.
There are 2 main types of devices:
E-stim may be done in an office or at home.
E-stim may be used to repair muscles or to help with pain from:
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Potential problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some of these problems, like:
Note: E-stim is not advised for people with heart problems, seizures, or women who are pregnant.
Before e-stim, talk to your doctor about ways to handle anything that may raise your risk of problems.
Certain medicines may cause problems during e-stim or after. Talk to your doctor about all medicines or supplements you are taking.
Small sticky pads, called electrodes, will be placed around the site. Wires from the e-stim device will be attached to the sticky pads.
The device will be turned on at a low setting. The setting will be raised until you sense a pins and needles feeling. An EMS device will also cause a small twitch in the muscle. The strength of the EMS may be adjusted throughout your treatment as your body gets used to the feeling.
E-stim may last 5-15 minutes. It depends on the reason you need to have it done.
You may feel a tingly or warm feeling during e-stim. The feelings are strange but should not be painful.
When you return home, take these steps:
Call your doctor if you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
American Chronic Pain Association
Canadian Cancer Society
Chronic Pain Association of Canada
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Resende L, Merriwether E, Rampazo E, et al. Meta-analysis of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for relief of spinal pain. Eur J Pain. 2018;22(4):663-678.
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7/23/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttps://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T580145/Stroke-rehabilitation: Nascimento LR, Michaelsen SM. Cyclical electrical stimulation increases strength and improves activity after stroke: a systematic review. J Physiother. 2014;60(1):22-30.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 6/13/2018