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A normal electrical potential is essential for our cells and thus our body to carry out normal functions. According to Dr. Jerry Tennant (Healing is Voltage), in order to heal and make new cells, a voltage of -50 millivolts is needed. At Legacy Medical Centers we use interferential current, transcutaneous electronic stimulation (TENS), and high voltage in various settings to apply electrical stimulation to the body in order to reduce pain and speed tissue healing.

Electrical stimulation may block the transmission of pain signals along nerves. Additionally, electrical stimulation has been shown to promote the release of endorphins, which are natural pain killers produced by the body. Electrical current is painless and patients commonly report a “tingling” or “pins and needles” type of sensation when it is applied. With a larger than normal flow of current along a neuron, a refractory period is induced within the nerve and thus the sensitivity of the nerve is reduced (Wedensky inhibition). The ability of interferential therapy to control pain (the analgesic effect) is caused by inhibition of type C nociceptive neurons.

Electrotherapy is used at Legacy Medical Centers for:

  1. Pain management
    • Improves range of joint movement
  2. Treatment of neuromuscular dysfunction
    • Improvement of strength
    • Improvement of motor control
    • Retards muscle atrophy
    • Improvement of local blood flow
  3. Improving range of joint mobility
    • Induces repeated stretching of contracted, shortened soft tissues
  4. Tissue repair
    • Enhances microcirculation and protein synthesis to heal wounds
    • Restores integrity of connective and dermal tissues
  5. Acute and chronic edema
    • Accelerates absorption rate
    • Affects blood vessel permeability
    • Increases mobility of proteins, blood cells and lymphatic flow
  6. Improvement of peripheral blood flow
    • Induces arterial, venous and lymphatic flow
  7. Iontophoresis
    • Delivery of pharmacological agents

Therapeutic Ultrasound

This technique should not be confused with diagnostic ultrasound (as described separately), used in prenatal screening and musculoskeletal pathologies. Ultrasound can be used in treatment of inflammatory conditions, and has a massage-like effect that enhances fluid exchange and promotes tissue healing. Ultrasound has been shown to Increase in tensile strength, increase mobility, improve collagen fibril alignment, and reduce inflammatory infiltrate and scar tissue in tendons. The heating effect of ultrasound is absorbed especially by collagen, which is found in tissues such as bone and tendon. Ultrasound is a painless procedure and most often the patient cannot perceive any sensation except slight warmth when it is applied.

At Legacy Medical Centers we use therapeutic ultrasound for:

  1. Inflammatory conditions (e.g. plantar fasciitis, epicondylitis)
  2. Tissue warming
  3. Speeding healing