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Goals for electrotherapy treatment include:

  • Pain relief.
  • Decreased edema (swelling).
  • Decrease muscle spasm.
  • Increased tissue healing and circulation.
  • Muscle reeducation.
  • Increased range of motion.

Electrotherapy modalities such as Interferential Current have many physiological effects.

  • Thermal effect: Heat is developed in all forms of currents.
  • Chemical effects: Leads to ionic changes in tissues
  • Kinetic effects: Therapeutic muscle stimulation to produce contraction.
  • Excitable tissues: Nerves, muscles and glands.

Systemic level

  • Analgesic effect (endorphins, enkephalins, dopamines, dymorphins).
  • Modulation of visceral activity.

Segmental level

  • Muscle group contraction with effects on joint mobility, synergistic muscle activity.
  • Muscle pumping action affects macrocirculation.
  • Changes in macrocirculation not associated with skeletal muscle contraction.

Tissue level

  • Skeletal muscle contractions leads to changes in speed, strength, reaction time and fatigability.
  • Smooth muscle contraction/relaxation yields changes in blood flow.
  • Tissue regeneration and remodeling.

Cellular level

  • Excitation of peripheral nerves.
  • Changes of membrane permeability of non-excitatory cells.
  • Alterations in cellular metabolism.
  • Alterations in microcirculation.

Information source: Physical Assessment by Dr. Nikita A. Vizniak