Can Electrotherapy Help You Neck and Back Pain?

If you have been living with back and/or neck pain that simply won’t go away, then you know how dramatically it can interfere with the quality of your life. Many people spend weeks and months enduring this pain instead of seeking medical attention because they are afraid that they will quickly be told that they need surgery. In reality, there are many non-invasive interventions that can bring relief and healing, and one of them is electrotherapy.

Though electrotherapy certainly can’t resolve all pain problems, it has proven effective for certain conditions, including:

  • Osteoporosis pain
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Acute or chronic back and neck pain
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Promoting bone growth after a procedure such as a spinal fusion
  • Wound healing
  • Whiplash

Electrotherapy sends mild pulses of electricity to a target area via electrodes. The low voltage current that the electrodes deliver can have multiple effects. It encourages circulation to the target area, thus optimizing healing. In some cases, it stimulates bone growth, strengthens muscles or repairs damaged tissues. Perhaps more than anything, electrotherapy tends to facilitate motion and function in an area that is stiff or feeling pain. The current is mild and feels like a light buzzing: rather than being painful, many people find the treatments relaxing.

Electrotherapy treatments are not only effective: they provide a viable alternative to the traditional medicinal treatment of narcotic pain killers and their potentially addictive side effects. They also can have a more immediate effect, and can even be purchased for home use. It is important to note that the treatment is not available for patients with contraindications such as having a pacemaker installed, or patients who are pregnant or who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many different versions of electrotherapy treatment. Most are administered by physicians or physical therapists.  The most popular options for equipment types include:

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – sticky pads are placed over the spots from which pain is felt.
  • Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS) – uses needles instead of pads to deliver electrical currents.
  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) – uses electrodes to deliver currents to muscles with the goal of rebuilding muscle tissue
  • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) – heals at the cellular level using special coils to create an electromagnetic field

The best way to know whether this type of alternative treatment can address your situation is to make an appointment with our lumbar and cervical spine specialist in New Jersey and ask about the options that are available to you. We will conduct a thorough examination, provide you with a diagnosis of your condition, and determine whether electrically-based therapy or some other noninvasive treatment is most likely to provide you with the relief that you need.

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