Electrotherapy is the use of electrical energy currents for medical treatment. It was first pioneered in the mid 1800's when medical professionals noticed that electric currents could be used to stimulate muscle contractions. Today, electrotherapy is used primarily for physical rehabilitation. It has been approved by the American Physical Therapy Association for pain management, improved joint function, tissue repair, blood flow issues and the treatment of neuromuscular dysfunction.
One of the best known applications of electrotherapy is the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in the knees, hips and hands. In these instances, an electrotherapy device sends tiny electric signals directly to the joint. This is often combined with heat and compression for increased effectiveness. Often, patients will wear a device while sleeping and it is recommended that electrotherapy be administered for 6 to 12 months for optimum results. It is believed that in some arthritis cases, electrotherapy treatment may help reduce pain, enhance blood circulation, increase joint flexibility, and on some instances, it may even encourage deep tissue repair.
Before seeking out a new electrotherapy device, speak to your personal physician or physical therapist. A physician's order is required to obtain one of these devices and you should only operate the device under the on-going supervision of a medical professional. If your physician agrees that electrotherapy may be beneficial for your specific arthritis condition, seek out a device that is comfortable and convenience to use. If you are covered by Medicare, there are a number of Medicare approved devices such as the J-Stim 1000 therapy system. Ask your physician which device they would recommend for you.
Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition. Always consult with a medical professional prior to initiating electrotherapy treatment.