While the main focus of your chiropractic treatment plan in our office is the adjustment itself, we do find situations where the patient’s condition would benefit from the use of electrotherapy.
Swelling and Inflammation
When you first lay down on the adjusting table for your visit, we are checking your spine for misalignment, as well as checking the muscles for spasm, inflammation, and swelling. This lets us know which areas to adjust as well as determining any additional therapies that may be beneficial during your visit.
In addition to using the electrotherapy, we may add an ice pack to further decrease the swelling and inflammation. When we are checking the spine (also called palpation), we actually feel an increase in the temperature around the area having the problem. It feels hot!
Icing to alleviate this problem is more helpful than heat in most cases. It is unusual for us to recommend heat for most conditions walking through our door.
Are you experiencing a muscle spasm or a “knot” in your postural muscles? Electrotherapy to the rescue again! Depending on how we set our electric stimulation unit, we can get the muscles to contract then fatigue to relax that muscle.
In some situations, we will set the machine to contract, then relax the muscle over and over again during your treatment session. You’ll just feel some tingling, followed by the muscle contracting involuntarily, then the muscle will relax.
You’ll find that this effect makes a rapid difference in alleviating your muscle spasm.
Is Electrotherapy Only Used By Chiropractors?
Not at all! Many different types of healthcare providers dealing with musculoskeletal conditions will utilize electrotherapy to help with muscle problems. Athletic trainers and physical therapist regularly use many variations of electrotherapy to help their patients with different problems.
One type of electrotherapy, called Russian Stim, can actually help patients recover from muscles that have atrophied (grown smaller and weaker) due to long term inactivity or nerve issues. The electric stimulation contracts the muscles in a way that the muscles will grow stronger and bigger.
We will typically only use this therapy in the early, acute stages of your problem. Focusing on the chiropractic adjustment and then moving you to a more active program that may include exercise and mechanical traction.