Electrical stimulation is a treatment modality used by physical therapists to help relieve pain. Electrical stimulation uses a low voltage electrical current to stimulate nerves and sends signals to the brain that block or interrupt normal pain signals. It can be used for muscle pain, joint pain, tendonitis and bursitis.
Another use for electrical stimulation is to strengthen muscles. This type of stimulation is called NMES (Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation). When there is muscle weakness (atrophy), electrical stimulation is used to elicit a contraction of the muscle. The electrical impulses work to retrain muscles to function normally. This is most commonly used after ACL surgery and a stroke.