Shocking results

Physical therapy’s new method of relief


Submitted photo

Story by Salem Karr, staff writer

The constant feeling of pins and needles is the reality for many. There are people who suffer from severe joint pain, arthritis and injuries. For those of us who suffer from one of these issues, there is a solution: physical therapy.

Almost three years ago, my knee popped out of place and since then I have suffered from severe pain in my knees. I visited several doctors, tried numerous remedies but my pain was not getting better. That was until late last year when I finally got an appointment with a professional in joint pain. He got me an appointment to try physical therapy (PT) for six weeks. At first, I was skeptical because I thought that it would not help, but I discovered that I was wrong.

The first part of my physical therapy was normal with stretches and using different pieces of workout equipment to strengthen my knees, but I found it odd when they told me that I would attach electrodes to my knees.

Many physical therapists have started using electrical stimulation for their patients. When I first learned that I was going to be shocked as part of my PT, I was worried. But, after the first time I did it, I saw immediate improvement. I walked out of my first session already feeling 10 times better than when I walked in.

Electrical stimulation can be used for inflammation, contracted or weak muscles and pain or spasms. There are many types of electrical stimulation, but the one that I used was Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS). This is used to decrease pain by sending electrodes into painful areas of the body.

It is important that when you have your first evaluation to ask the physical therapist about any contradictions pertaining to electrical stimulation.

— Salem Karr

Although electrical stimulation works for most people, there are still risks. You could experience a muscle tear, skin irritation or tissue burn. This means that you have to be careful about the intensity of your electrodes and never do more than you can handle. Electrical stimulation should never be painful; however, if it is, you should lower the setting before you hurt yourself.

Of course, with every type of treatment, there are certain circumstances in which electrical stimulation should not be used.

It is necessary to see a professional if you begin to experience pain either from an injury or just randomly. Your pain needs to be checked out to make sure that nothing is wrong, and if there is, it is important to get help before it gets worse.

If you have to start physical therapy, do not be afraid. It is almost always effective and if it is, you will feel much better than you did before. Thanks to my PT, I have only used my knee braces once since I started, and I hope to never use them again.

I have finally finished my physical therapy, and while I still have some days where my pain is bad, most days I feel little to no pain.