Don't’ be surprised if your physio connects you up to electrodes after knee injury! Your muscles are being zapped with Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS). It is commonly used by Athletes for knee rehabilitation to help reduce knee pain and muscle atrophy and re-educate the muscle to properly fire up. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), is the direct stimulation of a muscle using electric current that is applied via electrode patches on the skin. It delivers a buzzing sensation a little like pins and needles.
Here’s what to expect with Muscle Zapping:
Increases your muscle strength – proven by many studies.
Increases of blood flow to the muscle to stimulate cell growth.
Deep muscle activation – MRI scans have shown that even low levels of muscles are activated.
Aid to reduce knee pain – studies show that EMS of the VMO part of the quad near the knee on the inside of the thigh can help reduce knee pain.
EMS does not cause discomfort – intensity of current is controlled to the level you can tolerate.
EMS units have many settings that stimulate muscles at various vibrations. They stimulate the motor nerves – the ones that trigger muscle contractions. They can also be used to strengthen muscle groups that may be prone to injuries. These are also settings that equate to “massage like” movements that help relax muscle groups.
Your physio will often use EMS as part of your training session to warm up the muscle groups prior to exercises to increase range of motion, strengthening and balancing. The benefits of EMS go far beyond rehab and can form a great part of any performance training program. EMS enables muscles to be directly targeted to build neurons for effective firing, by-passing the need for excessive strength training and the risk of muscle fatigue.