Electrotherapy has long been used for muscular pain relief for a variety of conditions. What is electrotherapy and how can it help with fibromyalgia pain?
What Is Electrotherapy? Electrotherapy involves the use of electrical impulses to reduce pain. Commonly used in physical therapy, electrotherapy can help both relax and tighten muscles and reduce inflammation and pain. My daughter had tendonitis in her shoulder, and electrotherapy was one aspect of her recovery.
How Does Electrotherapy Work? Electrotherapy activates muscle tissue, causing it to contract then relax. This can help reduce pain from tight or even underused muscles. Athletes often use electrotherapy as part of their training. This therapy can also block pain from nerve signals.
Fibromyalgia. Since fibromyalgia has no one known cause, there is no one effective treatment for all sufferers. Electrotherapy is just one pain reduction method that has been shown to give relief to some who have chronic pain from many disorders, including diabetes and fibromyalgia.
What Types of Electrotherapy Are Used for Fibromyalgia? Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) uses electrical impulses to stimulate and strengthen muscles. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is noninvasive with the use of electrodes placed on the skin to help block pain signals. Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS) uses an inserted needle to deliver electrical impulses to nerve endings. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) uses electrodes clipped to the earlobes to deliver impulses through the head and can also improve mood and sleep.
How Can Electrotherapy Be Effective to Treat Fibromyalgia Pain? The pain-relieving effects of electrotherapy in themselves are helpful. Sufferers of fibromyalgia pain are recommended to add exercise as a way to increase movement and reduce pain. For those limited by their pain, electrical stimulation products may be a way to begin increasing muscle strength and movement.
Should You Try Electrotherapy for Fibromyalgia Pain? Before starting any at-home treatment, speak with your doctor to see if there are reasons you shouldn’t use electrical stimulation products. PENS should only be performed by a license professional. Although EMS, TENS and CES products can be purchased and used in the home, you should consult a licensed professional for proper usage instructions. A professional can also help you determine proper current strength and pulse timing.
As with any method for treating fibromyalgia pain, not all methods work for everyone. Speak with your doctor if you think electrotherapy may benefit you in your treatment of fibromyalgia pain.
D. N. Rushton; Electrical stimulation in the treatment of pain; Informahealthcare
Guiseppe Salar, et al.; Effect of transcutaneous electrotherapy on CSF B-endorphin content in patients without pain problems; Science Direct
M.I. Johnson, et al.; An in-depth study of long-term users of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation TENS). Implications for clinical use of TENS; ScienceDirect
Fibromyalgia Symptoms; Electrotherapy Muscle Stimulation