Free Research Paper On E-Stim Interventions For Pain And Muscle Re-Education
Terra State Community College
Physical Agent: Electrotherapy Stimulation Interventions for Pain and Muscle Re-education
The trauma and pain, often associated with physiotherapy, have immensely contributed to a slow recovery. This is because the sheer effort required to overcome the trauma endured on the physical organs of the body through routinely planned exercises proves a tough swallow. In some instances, the will and determination of a patient may propel them towards a successful physiotherapy session, but for some patients that is not the case. The effect is that such patients take longer to recover, and they are forced to endure more physical pain during the process, compared to the relatively fast-recovering patients.
Electrotherapy stimulation serves to draw a level playing field, allowing all patients to have a significantly easier time during physiotherapy, the nature of their trauma notwithstanding (Chae et al., 1998). Accident or injury inflicts trauma on an organ, and in the necessity for the organ to recover, a state of inactivity is inevitable. It is in this state that the organ is able to regenerate cells and tissues to repair the damaged cells. However, in some instances the period required to achieve this state is long, and long inactivity period have proven detrimental to the health of the organ in question. The fact that a particular organ is not being used slows down its connection with the Central Nervous System (CNS). This, in turn, reduces the number of communication impulses that it sends to this organ and before you know it, the organ is experiencing disuse atrophy (wasting of the organ due to inactivity).
In addition to setting off healing and muscle re-education, electrotherapy stimulation also alleviates pain to a certain degree for the patient. Since the therapy sets the nerves firing once more, the patient does not have to endure the intense physical pain that accompanies this process when exercise is the sole medium of intervention in play (Peckham & Knutson, 2005). Electrotherapy stimulation, therefore, reduces the reliance on painkillers while accelerating muscle re-education and physiotherapy.
This form of therapy is recommended for virtually every organ in the body with the exceptions of fundamental organs such as the brain and the sinus nerves. It is also discouraged for use on the chest and on patients that have a pacemaker fitted. Some other advantages of this intervention include increasing the local blood circulation, relaxing muscle spasms and increasing the range of motion the patient enjoys. In addition to these, it is used in the stimulation of calf muscles to prevent the onset of venous thrombosis immediately after surgery.
Background and Purpose
The study selected for the study was “The Long-Term Outcome of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation in the Treatment for Patients with Chronic Pain: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial”. In this research, Oosterhof et al. (2012) presented a suggestion to implement Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a viable electrical nerve stimulation. The study focused on the examination of the long-term results of the application of TENS in comparison to placebo. The exponential growth in the number of patients having chronic pain saw medics and scientists look to uncover ways of making their patients stronger without using invasive analgesic methodologies, as well as making them heal faster when they suffered an injury thus minimize the need for using pain medication. This need saw them adopt the use of Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to strengthen and treat patients. Based on these assertions, this study sought to establish whether there was an increase in pain intensity of patients when TENS was used. It also sought to establish whether TENS could improve functional performance in patients when they were engaged in strength tasks. Finding out the answers to these questions would serve as a pointer when it comes to assessing the impact TENS has in patients when they are recovering from an injury.
The research was designed to assess both sides of the coin, and for this, it was based on a comparative design. The study incorporated the study of random patients having chronic pain in the multidisciplinary pain center of the university hospital. The research process involved studying medical data and records or two groups of patients namely those who showed results from the treatment and those that failed to show viable results from the treatment. The application of TENS was not limited to assessing the improvement of functional performance or isometric muscle strength alone, and was also used for recovering patients (Oosterhof, Wilder-Smith, de Boo, Oostendorp & Crul, 2012). In this way, the entire scope of the study could be covered through the examination of the pain disability, perceived health status, and pain intensity. Thus, the study adopted both quantitative and qualitative approaches to this study.
The research showed that TENS has similar results in patients that had experienced chronic pain for the last one year. The patients that applied the methodology for over one year showed greater pain relief in comparison to those that had used the methodology for shorter periods. Moreover, the research failed to identify any possibility of a decline in the effect of the treatment over time for the patients that were subjected to TENS.
The researchers established without any reasonable doubt that indeed TENS was beneficial for treating chronic muscle pains in patients, particularly when applied in the long-term (Oosterhof, Wilder-Smith, de Boo, Oostendorp & Crul, 2012). In addition to this, it was concluded that TENS played a significant role in averting long-term placebo effects. No potential biases or limitations were established since all the test subjects used were in perfectly good health and free from any other disease that could result in the skewing of the findings towards any particular direction. The study is considered valid and applicable to modern healthcare practices.
TENS is not only a practical approach in treating muscle pains in patients, but is also essential in their recovery from bone and soft tissue injuries. Based on the scope of the study, it can be presupposed that TENS is applicable in virtually every form of treatment that patients receive, with the few exceptions of injury to major organs. It is an effective intervention, and one which I believe should be used in collaboration with other interventions for maximum efficiency. Although it also alleviates pain and reduces dependency on painkillers, it must be applied in combination with treatments such as physiotherapy and even psychological therapy to guarantee effective treatment. This is especially so in the case of patients, who seem to be in constant need of this combination of interventions depending on the extent of an injury.
Chae, J., Bethoux, F., Bohinc, T., Dobos, L., Davis, T., & Friedl, A. (1998). Neuromuscular stimulation for upper extremity motor and functional recovery in acute hemiplegia. Stroke, 29(5), 975-979.
Oosterhof, J., Wilder-Smith, O., de Boo, T., Oostendorp, R., & Crul, B. (2012). The Long-Term Outcome of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation in the Treatment for Patients with Chronic Pain: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pain Practice, 12(7), 513-522. doi:10.1111/j.1533-2500.2012.00533.x
Peckham, P. H., & Knutson, J. S. (2005). Functional electrical stimulation for neuromuscular applications*. Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng., 7, 327-360.