Interferential current therapy is an effective treatment option used by Physiotherapists to relieve pain and accelerate the self-healing process, getting your body back to a healthy, pain free state. The high frequency signals of IFT penetrate through the skin into deeper lying muscle tissues.
Electrodes are placed on your skin around the injured body part. The Interferential Current device then transmits electrical impulses in minute quantities through your skin. Underlying tissue and nerves are stimulated which begins the healing properties. These impulses are not painful in the least. In fact, patients describe the sensation as a minor prickle on their skin. Frequencies produced by IFT have been proven to stimulate endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. This can help to create a self-healing process without the need to for medications. This form of therapy is also extremely useful in reducing pain, inflammation, swelling, and spasms.
- Reduces or eliminates your pain safely.
- Noticeable decrease in swelling and inflammation.
- Restores lost movement and improves restricted movements and coordination.
- Stimulates the natural hormones which can help your body heal faster.
- Considered by many experts as a highly effective form of treatment for chronic pain.
Interferential Current stimulation is very useful in the treatment of circulatory and muscular disorders, stiffness of joints, swelling, and inflammation. If you suffer from health problems such as cumulative trauma disorders, body pain, joint injuries, or are pre or post orthopaedic surgery, IFT could be helpful in settling your pain. .
IFT has been in use for many years, and there have been numerous studies that have documented its versatility in treating diverse symptoms, accelerating the healing process and restoring normal movement. IFT can often lessen the need for pain killing medications. It also helps improve circulation and speeds the healing process by stimulating endorphins (our body’s own pain killing hormones).
Deep Heating Effects
Ultrasound is often used to provide deep heating to soft tissue structures in the body. Deep heating tendons, muscles or ligaments increases circulation to those tissues, which is thought to help the healing process. Increasing tissue temperature with ultrasound is also used to help decrease pain.
Deep heating can be used to increase the "stretchiness" of muscles and tendons that may be tight. If you have shoulder pain and have been diagnosed with a frozen shoulder, your physical therapist may use ultrasound to help improve the extensibility of the tissues around your shoulder prior to performing range of motion exercises. This may help improve the ability of your shoulder to stretch.
Non-Thermal Effects (Cavitation)
Ultrasound introduces energy into the body. This energy causes microscopic gas bubbles around your tissues to expand and contract rapidly, a process called cavitation. It is theorized that the expansion and contraction of these bubbles help speed cellular processes and improves healing of injured tissue.
Two types of cavitation include stable and unstable cavitation. Stable cavitation is desired when your physical therapist is applying ultrasound to your body. Unstable cavitation can be dangerous to your body's tissues, and your physical therapist will ensure that this does not occur during the application of ultrasound.
HOW DOES ULTRASOUND WORK?
Inside your PT's ultrasound unit is a small crystal. When an electrical charge is applied to this crystal, it vibrates rapidly, creating piezoelectric waves. These waves are emitted from the ultrasound sound head as ultrasound waves. The ultrasound wave then enters into your injured tissues during application of the modality. This increases blood flow and cavitation, leading to the theorized benefits of the treatment.
While you are receiving an ultrasound treatment, you will most likely not feel anything happening, except perhaps a slight warming sensation or tingling around the area being treated. If the ultrasound sound head is left in place on your skin and not moved in a circular direction, you may experience pain. If this occurs, tell your physical therapist right away.
Contraindications to Using Ultrasound
- Open wounds
- Areas of decreased sensation
- Metal implants, like in a total knee replacement of lumbar fusion
- Around the eyes, breasts, or sexual organs
- Over fractured bones
- Near or over an implanted electrical stimulation device
Common Injuries Treated with Ultrasound
WHAT IS RADIAL SHOCKWAVE THERAPY?
Therapeutic Shockwave Treatment was introduced as a medical treatment for eliminating kidney stones over 20 years ago. One the side effects discovered was accelerated tissue and bone healing. Research has found that the shockwaves offer a non-invasive treatment solution to chronic tendon and soft tissue pathologies.
Radial shockwaves are high energy soundwaves transmitted via a treatment probe held against the skin which causes them to penetrate into the underlying tissues. The treatment works via the following mechanisms:
ADVANTAGES OF SHOCKWAVE THERAPY OVER OTHER TREATMENTS
1 – The targeted application of shockwaves means stress to the surrounding tissues is insignificant.
2 – The need for analgesics/anti-inflammatory medications is reduced/abolished.
3 – Shockwave therapy can prevent the need for surgical intervention in conditions otherwise resistant to other treatment modalities.
4- For stubborn conditions such as tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis it may be the only effective solution. International results show rates of 70-80% success in curing chronic conditions that have not responded to other treatment modalities.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING TREATMENT?
Your therapist will examine you to determine the cause of pain. Shockwaves will then be applied via a treatment head held against the skin. The generation of shockwaves can cause the treatment to be quite noisy. The start of the treatment can cause pain but as the shockwaves penetrate more deeply this changes to a sensation of numbness or heaviness and the last stage of the treatment is usually much less painful. Treatment duration is approximately 10 minutes and many patients will report an improvement within 7-10 days. Depending on your condition between 3-6 sessions may be required with 5-7 days between treatments.
You may feel some soreness after treatment which may intensify on the night after treatment. Simple analgesics and ice can help to manage this. Some people may experience local swelling, redness and minor bruising which usually fades within 3-5 days.
Side effects, if any, usually appear within 2 days of treatment and will fade within 3-5 days after treatment.
- Post treatment pain
- Local bruising – uncommon and minor
- Redness and local selling of tissues
We will not be able to give you Radial Shockwave Therapy if you have any of the following conditions:
-If you have a pacemaker, heart disease or uncontrolled high blood pressure
-If you have an acute inflammatory condition (eg. active Rheumatoid Arthritis), Asthma, DVT, Thyroncus or Cancer
-People with haemorrhagic tendencies or coagulation system disturbances, those on Warfarin, Heparin or any other blood thinning medication.
- Pregnant women
- Medical plastic or metal parts
- Inflammatory skin conditions or oedema
- Those with abnormal immune systems
- Those who are numb or insensitive to heat
- If you have had local steroid injections in the affected area in the last month
- People under 18 years of age as growth plates can be affected (except in the case of Osgoode Schlatters)
- Shockwaves cannot be applied over areas that are gas filled such as lungs, gut and large nerve bundles, major blood vessels, the spine and the head.
CONDITIONS RSWT CAN HELP
Shin splints, stress fractures
Jumpers knee, Osgood-Schlatter’s
Runners knee (ITB)
Trochanteric bursitis and tendinopathy
Calcified shoulder tendinopathy