Some electrotherapy may help with pain relief.

Electrotherapy commonly refers to ultrasound, Interferential Current (IC), Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Transcutaneous Spinal Electroanalgesia (TSE), Stimulation (SCS), Electroacupuncture (EA), Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS) and Pulsed Shortwave Diathermy (PSWD).


Before initiating electrotherapy treatment, there are several conditions that should be evaluated either because they are contraindicated or because treatment should be used with caution.






  • Caution is needed when dealing with patients with epilepsy.

    Although some patients with epilepsy are fine when treated with electrotherapy, there are reports of people reacting badly to electrical stimulation if they do have some form of epilepsy. Caution is advised if the patient has ever had any form of epilepsy, even if it is now under control--but especially if the epilepsy is active.


  • Those with a history of malignancy should use electrotherapy with caution.

    There is controversy regarding the use of electrotherapy in the presence of cancer, even with patients who have a history of cancer. However, unless the cancer is active and current, it may be possible to use electrotherapy with the patient. Caution should be taken, however, not to stimulate malignant tumors or areas of possible malignancy.

Skin Injuries

  • Electrotherapy should be avoided when bleeding is present.

    Electrotherapy should be avoided if the patient is currently bleeding, as it can increase blood flow; this is especially important if the patient is suffering from hemophilia. Also take note of skin conditions such as open sores that might be a contraindication.


It is the professional determination of your Physical Therapist to decide when and how he/she will include this technique in your treatment plan.

Most likely the Electrical Stimulation will be in addition to therapeutic exercises or manual therapy techniques that your therapist will choose to best treat you.