Electrical stimulation has several advantages for stroke sufferers. Electrical stimulation for stroke patients (E-stim) can help you overcome numerous secondary symptoms of stroke, from restoring motor abilities to avoiding atrophy.
You may be curious about how electrical stimulation works if your physiotherapist has prescribed it. Everything about functional electrical stimulation for stroke patients will be explained in this essay.
Before we begin, it’s vital to understand that there are some precautions to take and contraindications to using electrical stimulation, which is as follows:
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the mechanics and advantages of e-stim for stroke rehabilitation.
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Understanding stroke affects your muscles can help you grasp electrical stimulation. The brain sends chemical and electrical messages to your muscles to inform them when to move. When a stroke happens, the injured areas of the brain no longer have the ability to convey these messages appropriately. As a result, moving your afflicted muscles may become challenging, if not unattainable. This is when electrical stimulation can be beneficial.
Electrical stimulation is accomplished by applying non-invasive electrodes to your skin. When these electrodes are triggered, they provide modest electrical impulses to your muscles, prompting them to contract.
Using muscle stimulators for stroke patients can assist stroke victims in stimulating the damaged parts of their brain by giving intense stimulation. In turn, this stimulation activates neuroplasticity, the process through which the brain rewires itself and heals from traumas like stroke.
Neuroplasticity permits healthy portions of the brain to take up duties formerly performed by damaged areas. In response to stimuli, it creates new neural pathways. As a result, by giving additional stimulation, e-stim can promote neuroplasticity and perhaps speed up stroke recovery.
As per American Heart Association studies, integrating electrical stimulation with physical therapy is more helpful than exercise alone for stroke patients.
While certain types of e-stim are passive (requiring no action on your part), e-stim for people suffering from strokes should be active. This implies that when you feel the flow of electrons activate, you should strive to engage your muscles.
When patients perform therapeutic exercises while receiving e-stim, the brain-muscle link is strengthened. This will enhance the level of motor control you can regain.
Doing exercises without electrical stimulation can still trigger neuroplasticity and aid in the recovery of mobility in stroke patients. The research, however, is detailed: mixing e-stim with exercise is the best approach.
When beginning with electrical stimulation, it is critical to collaborate with a therapist. For example, physical therapists frequently utilize e-stim to rehab the lower extremities, while occupational therapists use it to recover the arms. These experts know where to insert the electrodes and which workouts are most beneficial. If you find that e-stim works well, ask your psychotherapist to propose a home e-stim device and exercises you may do at home. E-stim might be unpleasant at times, but it should not be painful. If you are in discomfort, request that your therapist alter your settings.
Aside from muscular development, e-stim offers a variety of applications. For example, the following are the critical consequences of a stroke that e-stim has been shown to alleviate:
Electrical stimulation may aid in rehabilitating paralyzed muscles following a stroke (hemiplegia). When electrical stimulation stimulates paralyzed muscles, you may take advantage of the situation by performing paralysis recovery activities to help rewire the brain.
Ideally, this can enable stroke victims with paralysis to gradually restore mobility with mass practice. In addition, regular muscular stimulation will also help avoid muscle atrophy, which is a typical side effect of stroke paralysis.
Electrical stimulation can assist if you have weakness but not paralysis after a stroke. In addition, you can enhance your benefits by mixing electrical stimulation with physical or occupational therapy activities.
Furthermore, even after a severe stroke, e-stim has significantly decreased stiffness in stroke patients. It works by re-establishing contact between the patient’s brain and the spastic muscles, allowing them to relax and lengthen.
E-stim can aid stroke patients who want to enhance their balance and mobility. First, with the help of a physical therapist, the electrodes should be attached to the lower extremities. You can improve neuroplasticity and recover appropriate mobility by practicing proper walking.
Some stroke patients have shoulder subluxation. It is a condition in which the arm gets displaced from the shoulder socket. This condition is frequently painful. Functional electrical stimulation has been shown in studies to help alleviate the symptoms of shoulder subluxation and discomfort. It can also aid with arm function.
Aside from sensory difficulties, electrical stimulation can aid in the reduction of edema following a stroke. Edema is the accumulation of extra fluid in tissue cavities, and it is particularly frequent in stroke patients with movement difficulties.
When muscles stay inactive for an extended period, they cannot transfer fluid via the lymphatic system. As an outcome, fluid in the limbs might accumulate, producing discomfort and stiffness. Electrical stimulation helps transport fluid through the body by contracting muscles. This reduces edema and provides greater functional mobility to the limbs.
Finally, with the assistance of a highly experienced therapist, electrical stimulation can be used to address swallowing issues following a stroke. Working with a therapist is crucial in this situation. Do not do this at home since e-stim on the neck might be harmful. In addition, only a qualified therapist understands where to implant the electrodes securely.
While neuromuscular electrical stimulation for stroke patients has several advantages, it is not suited for all stroke patients. In addition, it is particularly hazardous for people with implantable electrical devices, including a pacemaker or defibrillator.
Consult your medical team to ensure that electrical stimulation is a safe choice for you. Then, they can assess if you should work with a therapist or learn to utilize it on your own at home. Furthermore, some potential side effects of electrical stimulation include muscle rips, skin irritations, and burns. These negative consequences may arise if the intensity is too great. Finally, do not implant electrodes in unsuitable locations, such as over the:
Based on the body part being treated, a skilled physical therapist or occupational therapist can assist you in placing the electrodes during treatment or instruct you to apply them to appropriate sites on your own. As you can see, working with a competent therapist is crucial, particularly at the starting stages.
A stroke rehabilitation program that uses electrical stimulation early on may aid in the recovery of function. For example, a 25-year-old patient with a right-sided stroke was treated with electrical stimulation for the supraspinatus four weeks after the stroke. Electrical stimulation was used for four hours in 4.5 weeks with success in reducing subluxation and increasing patient attention to the arm in this patient.
Additionally, task-specific upper limb training improved functional arm use. Despite not being conclusive, the results of this case study strongly support using electrical stimulation in the treatment of stroke patients who demonstrate inattention to their upper limbs during the early phases of the disease. More studies are needed to establish the optimal timing and parameters of electrical stimulation and investigate this treatment’s benefits. By optimizing upper limb rehabilitation following stroke, therapists can provide more effective therapy.
Please call our clinic if you reside in Las Vegas and require physical treatment. We offer comprehensive services to help you and your loved ones recover at home. Call (702) 871-9917 for additional information. You may learn more about different Home Health services.
Electrical stimulation has enhanced movement, sensation, and pain reduction advantages. It also increases neuroplasticity in the brain, which may help with stroke recovery time. Furthermore, integrating electrical stimulation with exercise treatments is essential for attaining the best outcomes.
Finally, it is vital to collaborate with a therapist who can either manage the therapy or teach you how to use e-stim safely at home. This will avoid any unintentional harm that may arise from inappropriate use. We hope this e-stim guide assists you on your journey to recovery.