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Key Benefits of Electrotherapy in Physiotherapy Treatments

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Electrotherapy includes such modalities that is used by physiotherapist to reduce pain with use of electrical stimulation to cause muscle to contract

In physiotherapy clinical setups,a physiotherapist use both electrotherapy with exercise to strengthen muscles, accelerate healing,reduce pain and improve range of motion and muscle regeneration.

These modalities not only use by physiotherapist but also rehabilitation practioner use modalities for various therapeutic purposes.

Modern electrotherapy treatment involve light electrical stimulation.

Electrotherapy in Physiotherapy

Electrotherapy is a gentle and non-invasive modality, in medical terms it describes as small electrical impulses from different devices in order to stimulate nerves, or muscles through the surface of skin, which help in repairing tissue, muscle wasting, nerve pain and improve muscle’s strength.

This electrotherapy treatment introduced by Guillaume Duchenne

In physiotherapy, there are different types of tools or devices used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, improve range of motion and to reduce pain, along with exercises like strengthening, stretching, mobilization etc.

Electrotherapy Uses

  • Acute and Chronic pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritic pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • DOMS
  • Foot drop

How does electrotherapy work?

  • By sending electrical impulses to reduce pain with the help of blocking the body’s pain signals.
  • They help to release endorphins which play a role to decrease pain
  • Reduce atrophy by stimulating muscle tissue.
  • The tools produce heating effects to improve circulation and the healing process.
  • Decrease inflammation, and increase collagen production.

Types of Electrotherapy Modalities

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
  • Ultrasound
  • Interferential therapy
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Laser
  • Hydrocollator
  • Wax therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy


  • Reduce nerve pain like numbness, tingling or burning, in this case TENS machine is used to reduce pain by blocking pain signals.
  • For treatment of musculoskeletal injuries(e.g tendenitis,bursitis,carpal tunnel syndrome,shoulder and knee injuries,plantar fasciitis etc), shockwave therapy commonly used to treat patient. This therapy is not only useful in treating injuries but also increase blood flow to stimulate healing process.
  • Electrotherapy is actually a safe,non-invasive and non-toxic method to treat chronic conditions (which make it difficult to perform daily life activities).Although some pain reducing medicines also used.
  • EMS which is another electrotherapy modality used to treat muscle atrophy(or muscle wasting), muscle atrophy restrict movement and cause stiffness and pain. So, EMS helps in stimulating muscle to contract.
  • Relax muscle spasm
  • Improve range of motion
  • Neuromuscular reeducation
  • Prevent surgery
Electrotherapy in Physiotherapy

When there are many advantages of electrotherapy, it’s important to go through the contraindications of treatment


  • Electrotherapy is not for symptomatic pain (unless pain has been diagnosed)
  • Shouldn’t use in inflamed, swollen or infected areas of body
  • Shouldn’t applied on cancerous ulcer, wounds or tumors
  • Avoid in pregnant women and children
  • Patient with pacemaker and CVS shouldn’t treated with electrotherapy
  • But still there are many areas or conditions in which electrotherapy is used on those listed above.

  • Disadvantages of Electrotherapy

  • During bleeding in injured area
  • Infection site
  • Pregnancy
  • In sensitive areas
  • Most common side effect of electrotherapy modalities is irritation of skin under the pads like TENS or EMS
  • Overuse of modalities is one of the cause of burning sensation in the skin
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