There is a long history of the application of some form of electricity. There is a record that in 31 AD Scribonius Largus, a physician at the court of the Roman Emperor Claudius, used the static electricity of the Torpedo marmoratus fish in the treatment of migraine and gout. Similarly, in his letters of 1757, Benjamin Franklin stated that he used static electricity to treat “paralysis of the hand”, although the description of the disease indicated that it was a frozen shoulder, not paralysis. In any case, it had a good healing effect.

Electrotherapy has advanced rapidly in the last five to six decades, thanks to the development of electronics.

The application of electricity in physical therapy implies the use of three modalities of current: direct current (galvanic current), alternating current and impulse current. Among them, the most commonly used in everyday practice are: galvanic current, diadynamic currents, interference currents, high-frequency currents…

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Depending on the mode of action, currents can produce the following effects: thermal (heat), chemical and electromagnetic effects on tissues. These effects lead to the following therapeutic response: analgesic (reducing pain), anti-inflammatory (reducing inflammation), stimulatory (stimulating), increased blood flow, improved tissue regeneration and trophic. The method of application is mainly through electrodes, which are isolated from the body with sponges soaked in water, as a conductor. The dosage of the current is based on the subjective feeling of the patient, who should feel a pleasant tingling or burning sensation.

What is not possible in everyday life, is possible in physical therapy, and that is the joint application of water and electricity! Hydrogalvanotherapy involves the application of galvanic current through water or in the form of four-cell baths for the treatment of extremities or hydrogalvanic baths for the treatment of the whole body.

Also, with the help of galvanic current, it is possible to apply certain drugs, such as painkillers (analgesics), corticosteroids, vasodilators, antibiotics, vitamins…The advantage of this method compared to the usual practice of taking these drugs lies in the fact that they have the strongest effect at the place where they are applied, that they bypass the gastrointestinal tract, thereby preventing its further damage, it is a painless way of use, and at the same time a positive effect of both the current and the drug is achieved.

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With the aid of electrical stimulation, it is also possible to induce muscle contraction. This physical therapy procedure is called electrostimulation. It is used in patients who are at risk of atrophy due to the inability to move a limb or a certain segment. Also, it can be used in order to maintain muscle tone until the recovery process of the damaged nerve (reinnervation) is completed. It is also used as an aid in motor re-education, in patients who, due to illness, have lost their normal movement pattern.

Physical Therapy Electrotherapy

All of the above found application in the treatment of numerous conditions and injuries such as: pain in the neck, back, knees, in conditions after injuries and fractures, in the treatment of sports injuries, reduction of muscle spasms… Therefore, the most common diseases in which electrotherapy is applied are: neuralgia, neuritis, tendon and joint injuries, peripheral paresis and paralysis, myofascial syndromes, degenerative diseases, most often of the hips and knees (gonarthrosis, coxarthrosis), inflammatory rheumatism – rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, spondylitis, post-traumatic swellings and hematomas, complex regional pain syndrome (Sudek), carpal tunnel syndrome…

Electrotherapy must not be applied in the presence of: skin damage at the application site, presence of metal objects (except in the case of interfering currents), malignancy, acute infection and purulent processes, tendency to bleed, presence of a pacemaker, phlebothrombosis.

The expert team of the Igalo Institute, made up of doctors specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, as well as a highly skilled physiotherapist team, takes care of the best choice of the appropriate modality of electrotherapy.

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