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Electric Muscle Stimulation & Heat/Ice


When you first get into an accident or have an injury there is often a lot of pain. This is largely due the swelling and and inflammation that the acute injury has caused. Our biggest priority in this stage is to relieve the pain as fast as possible so you can get back to some of your normal activities. This often requires passive therapies like electric muscle stimulation and lots of ice to reduce the swelling and inflammation.

There are many types of electric muscle stimulation but generally electric muscle stimulation is used to reduce swelling, inflammation and muscle spasms. It also provides a sedative effect on pain and provides passive exercise and relaxation to the tissues.


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Often used with electric muscle stimulation is an ice pack. Ice pack therapy or cryotherapy is used to decrease swelling and inflammation in the area of the injury. It tends to cool body tissue, thereby decreasing tissue metabolism. It causes the blood vessels to constrict or narrow which pushes inflammation away from the injury.  In addition, ice reduces the conduction of nerve impulses which has the affect of decreasing pain in the area.

After a short while ice is no longer needed as the swelling and inflammation becomes more controlled. At his time therapy is usually modified to use heat with the electric muscle stimulation. Hot pack therapy or thermotherapy is used to increase the temperature of the surrounding tissues, This causes the blood vessels to dilate or open up. This increases circulation and brings fresh blood to the tissues encouraging healing and the removal of waste products. There is also an analgesic and calming to heat when used. As a result of the pain relief and calming effect the tissue relaxes and muscular spasm is reduced.