Nerve damage can be one of the most debilitating consequences of a spinal fracture or disc herniation. It causes pain to extend beyond the site of the injury to other parts of the body.
Electronic stimulation is a tool that physical therapists use to help patients get some relief from pain associated with nerve root compression. Many people also use e-stim on their own at home.
How do e-stim devices work?
An e-stim device typically has two pads with adhesive material that you put on or near the area where you are experiencing pain. The device administers pulses of electrical current.
What does e-stim feel like?
Some people are a little put off by the idea of e-stim because they are afraid that it will feel like an electrical shock. However, the pulses do not cause pain in the way that a normal electric shock does. Instead, they feel somewhat like applying pressure or flexing a muscle. You can change the device’s intensity to adjust the strength of the pulse. The correct setting will not result in pain.
How does e-stim help?
E-stim devices can reduce nerve pain by interrupting the transmission of pain signals. The neurotransmitters that relay pain must process the pulse from the e-stim, thereby minimizing people’s perception of pain. In addition, some people report that they alleviate muscle spasms triggered by nerve pain.
Ultimately, trying e-stim may be effective for people who have been in a serious accident resulting in a spinal cord injury. This type of treatment may improve pain levels and decrease reliance on prescription medications.