Posts Tagged ‘Interferential Therapy’

Whiplash Treatment Tips

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Many people experience some form of neck injury and its very painful. Often the injury, if it involves a car crash from behind, is referred to as whiplash. This type injury usually involves a sudden jolt of movement forward and the muscles immediately become inflamed and swell, guarding starts as part of the inflammatory process. The first 12 to 24 hours are generally not as severely painful as the time period following the acute onset. It is after the initial trauma the pain can become unbearable. During the first acute episode, following the trauma, its best to ice, cool the neck area because the body has responded to the trauma and initiated a series of chemical reactions to stop the harmful effects. The problem is inflammation, swelling, which began with the influx of new chemical reactions. Because the excess fluid is captured in the tissue area there is an expansion of cells and eventually a rupture in the cell walls themselves which will later require repair to gain full function. After the swelling has stopped then warm moist heat is a very good option to begin dealing with the inevitable pain that follows. Here are some practical remedies in 3 simple steps…

Step 1 - Ice Down/ Chill

The initial step to be taken is ice, cool down the neck injury area. You will need to do this because the muscles will start swelling and there will be a build up of cellular fluids resulting in cell/tissue destruction. Some of the destruction will be the result of the traumatic injury but there will also be additional damage due to the inflammatory response of the immune system. You will need to carefully avoid treating with heat during the acute phase, as the heat will increase blood flow and increase the swelling and tissue damage..

You will need to do the chill initial step promptly. If you do it promptly, then the swelling will subside and there will be less damage and less pain.

Step 2 - Apply Warm Moist Heat

Your second step is going to be after the first 12 - 24 hours, when the swelling has subsided, then begin warm moist heat for the pain. If you don’t have a moist heat pad then simply use warm water on a towel and apply to the neck area. If possible in order to extend the heat of the towel you can put a piece of reflective aluminum foil over the top to contain the heat and not allow it to evaporate. Things you’ll want to avoid here are be careful of using pain medications that may leave you sleepy or groggy. To heal its not necessary to basically “drug oneself” out of awareness. You should stay away from driving a car or getting in any situation where a quick movement, or the need for a quick movement reaction, can harm you. Many chronic injuries are merely acute injuries recurring over and over.

Step 3 - Use Electrotherapy, preferably Interferential therapy, with moist heat if possible.

The 3rd step is if possible use a portable interferential pain machine in conjunction with the moist heat packs or if interferential is not available then use a standard TENS unit. This will be significant because moist heat provides carryover pain relief until the area treated loses the heat. After the thermal heat effects are lost, the pain often returns. The interferential treatment is known as the therapy of choice for extending the residual or carryover pain relief time period, however TENS, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulators, can be worn continuously minimizing pain. This is important because if the carryover period is extended the muscles can be rehabilitated sooner, the pain upon stretching and doing the rehab. is minimized, and full range of motion is restored.

The exact steps outlined above should help the whiplash patient experience less pain, gain mobility quicker, and tissue repair conclude sooner. Just stick to the steps in order, for the reasons as explained, while carefully avoiding the traps, problems and potential mistakes mentioned. Then pat yourself on the back and enjoy the benefits and rewards of having lost the pain, restored the function and lessened the rehabilitation time.

Will Interferential Units Replace TENS Machines?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulators ( TENS unit - TNS unit - Pain Machine) are small, battery powered devices that are worn on the body and emit up to 150 electrical impulses per second to control pain. The devices were widely prescribed during the 1980’s by physical therapists and medical doctors as a last means of helping the chronic pain patient. There was generally a trial period for each patient to determine if the tens unit would provide relief sufficient to justify daily, continuous use and/or purchase by an insurance company.

The big drawback was the unit was only effective if the patient was wearing it and upon turning the pain machine off the pain quickly returned. It was used for symptomatic relief, not curative relief. Constant usage also meant constant need for the electrodes which were/are a continuing cost.

Today interferential pain machines are supplanting tens unit for one simple reason, carryover pain relief. An interferential unit only requires a patient to do a 20 - 40 minute treatment possibly going from 2x daily to as little an once per month to stop the pain transmission. The machine emit up to 8,150 impulses per second, which is considerably more than a simple tens unit. This is changing the way chronic pain patients are being treated.

interferential therapy unit

The carryover, or residual, pain relief is lasting for days/weeks and apparently is changing the underlying chemical composition of pain stimulus so the treatment is becoming curative, not treating the symptom of pain. Interferential patients are needing only 4 - 8 electrodes per month due to the infrequent use and this is saving pain patients and insurance companies enough to justify the higher cost of the interferential unit up front, but not as costly as continuous operation of a tens unit.