Electrotherapy is a common non-invasive, drug-free therapeutic modality that health professionals use in which electric current is applied to manage pain, treat disorders of muscle, ligament and joints. There is a wide variety of electrotherapy modalities. The most common treatment techniques are Interferential Current (IFC), Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Ultrasound and EMG muscle stimulation.

How Does It Work?

  • Interferential and TENS

Electrodes are directly applied on the skin over the painful or inflamed area. An electric current is used to stimulate the nerves and it blocks pain signals travelling towards the brain to reduce the perception of pain.


  • Ultrasound

Using high-frequency sound waves called ultrasound to cause micro vibration of deep tissues that is aimed to break scar tissues, promote healing and to increase blood flow to the area.


How Does It Feel Like?

The interferential and TENS will feel like a sensation of ‘pins and needles’ or ‘tingling on skin’ and you will not feel pain at all time when the machine is used. Often heat pack is used together with electrotherapy, so the applied area will feel warm as well. With ultrasound, there will be a sensation of heat and vibration on the area of application.


Is It Safe?

Electrotherapy is designed to be safe and non-invasive. The practitioner will physically and verbally assess you to avoid possible adverse reactions. Overusing electrotherapy can lead to side effects like a skin rash or skin burn.

Will It Cure My Pain?

Electrotherapy will help reduce your pain, which will allow you to exercise more or walk better. However, it does not cure the the underlying cause of your pain.

Who Cannot Receive Electrotherapy Treatment?

Electrotherapy has been used safely since the 1960’s. However there are a few precautions. People with these conditions are contraindicated to electrotherapy:

  • Pregnancy
  • Bleeding tissue
  • Metal implants
  • Pacemaker
  • Malignancies

Can I Share My Tens Unit With Others In The Family?

Yes you can share the unit with other family members. Please make sure that each person has their own set of electrode pads to prevent cross-contamination between individuals.

Can I Use A Tens Machine With Other Pain Relief Methods?

Yes, you may continue using the TENS machine with other methods such as prescribed medication.

How Far Apart Should You Place The Pads?

They should be a minimum of 2-3 cm apart on clean, dry, healthy skin. The pads should never touch or overlap.

Do we provide electrotherapy treatment on it’s own?

No, we generally prefer a combined approach of hands on therapy, exercise therapy and electrotherapy when you are very irritable and in a lot of pain. It’s a natural way to ease your pain!

Thank you for reading, and we hope you benefited from this article. To receive electrotherapy treatment from our Physiotherapists or Chiropractors, call Masnad Health Clinic (02 9793 8840) or BOOK ONLINE