The different types of muscle therapy include electronic muscle stimulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Muscle therapy is used as a muscle treatment to combat muscle pain and help with pain management. Often muscle therapy is required when an injury has occurred and is typically used to help prevent more serious treatment such as surgery.
Electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) is a type of muscle therapy that involves sending an electrical impulse directly to the affected muscle to make it contract. The EMS device has electrodes that can be attached to the patient's skin via a small patch. When the device is turned on, the patient receives a small electrical impulse and the muscle will move similar to its natural movement and strengthens the muscle. EMS is most often used in patients who have suffered an injury which requires rehabilitation but is also used by some athletes for training purposes.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) is another type of muscle therapy that uses electrical stimulation. TENS works by sending an electrical pulse through the nerves of the central nervous system, which activates receptors. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is used specifically for pain management and is not used to strengthen muscles but instead helps to ease contracted muscles. Typically TENS is used in patients who suffer from osteoarthritis or severe musculoskeletal pain.
Physical therapy is used as a form of muscle therapy in patients suffering from either neurological or orthopedic conditions. A physical therapist will work with the patient by manually moving the legs, arms or spine so the person can increase strength and mobility. Often the physical therapy involves manipulating the muscles by having the patient grasp hand balls or work with balance balls to regain mobility.
Massage therapy is a type of muscle therapy used for chronic pain management most often associated with repetitious activities. Some examples include the muscles in the neck that get stiff due to performing desk duties several hours per day or a sore back due to heavy lifting. Massage therapists reduce the pain by massaging the affected muscles. Therapists are trained on how much pressure to apply and how firmly to massage the muscles to loosen muscle constriction and provide pain relief. By receiving regular muscle therapy through massage, patients may be able to avoid having to taking regular pain medication and may also improve their ability to perform their daily jobs.