Electrotherapy For Meniscus Tear
The pain that comes with a meniscus tear can sometimes be unbearable, and the injury itself can prevent you from completing many everyday activities. Healing from such an injury can take time, but there are ways to reduce the pain and speed up the healing process.
A chiropractor may not be your first choice for dealing with a knee injury, but chiropractor North Miami Beach can provide electrotherapy for meniscus tear healing to help you get back to normal safely and easily.
What is a meniscus tear?
In many parts of your body there are areas of padding that prevent bones from rubbing together. The absence of such padding doesn’t always cause pain but can cause physical damage to the bone. A more common problem is damage to this padding, rather than its complete absence.
In the knee, the cushion of tissue between the thighbone (the femur) and the shinbone (tibia) is known as the meniscus. There are two in each knee joint and they protect your leg bones from banging into each other.
Because of the complexity of the knee joint, it’s quite easy to injure it. Certain rotations of the knee joint or increased pressure in the area can cause damage or tears in the meniscus. This can be caused by participating in sport, exercising vigorously, or simply standing up too quickly.
In the US alone, it is estimated that there are around half a million meniscus tears per year. Not all tears are significant – some will go virtually unnoticed while others will require just a few days of rest and relaxation.
A significant tear can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal naturally, and it is often recommended that a patient has surgery on a damaged meniscus. This can be a tricky procedure for, as noted above, the knee is an extremely complex joint.
Untreated, a tear in the meniscus can increase in size and progressively worsen or part of the meniscus may become loose and enter the joint, causing further pain and problems. Surgery is not always the answer though, as electrotherapy can be used to treat meniscus tears.
What is Electrotherapy?
Electrotherapy is a term that describes the use of electronic devices to provide therapeutic treatment. These treatments can help your body to heal more quickly than usual and can be used to reduce the amount of pain you feel daily.
In some instances, this can be by passing small electric currents through the body, in other cases it is related to sound waves and heat. The exact treatment will be chosen to match the condition you need to treat, as some types of electrotherapy promote healing while other simply help to manage the pain you may be experiencing.
Electrotherapy is safe and poses no risk to life – you will certainly not be electrocuted during a treatment session. There may be sensations of heat or tingling, but nothing that is painful or detrimental to your health. It is a safe treatment and will help you to recover more easily.
Electrotherapy for meniscus tear healing
Several different types of electrotherapy for meniscus tear treatment are available. One of the most common treatments is the use of TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) to reduce pain.
TENS machines work by providing electrical stimulation that changes the way that sensory nerves feedback to the brain. This reduces or disguises the pain signals giving relief from the symptom of the injury. TENS machines do not normally help with the healing process but do help patients to cope and manage their pain.
Ultrasound therapy can also reduce pain but will also treat the soft tissue within the body. Ultrasound is comprised of sound waves that are above human hearing range. It can be thermal or non-thermal (meaning the waves can potentially produce a heating effect) and during the treatment the waves are capable of penetrating the human body.
This allows sound waves to stimulate soft tissue deep inside, which relieves pain and promotes the natural healing process. This healing process is often helped with the use of heat, and ultrasound allows heat to be delivered inside the body without raising the surface temperature of the skin significantly.
Ultrasound can treat muscles, ligaments, tendons, and the interior of joints, making it an ideal choice to use as electrotherapy for meniscus tears. It’s non-invasive and provides a real alternative to surgery.
Pulsed Shortwave Therapy can reduce swelling and promote healing with the use of magnetic or electric fields. It has been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation, and therefore can help to reduce pain as well as increasing the speed of healing.
Similarly, Interferential stimulation (alternatively known as interferential current – IFC) can be used to relieve pain while again accelerating the natural healing processes of the body. It works by the transmission of tiny electrical impulses through the skin, stimulating the tissue and nerves below.
A secondary effect of this kind of treatment is the production of endorphins which provide the body with a natural form of pain relief. Patients may experience a tingling sensation while undergoing IFC therapy, but the therapy is not painful.
A final option is to use diathermy. This is a therapy that uses electrical currents to generate heat. The heat can reduce pain and stimulates circulation in the treatment area which promotes the natural healing processes of the body. It is of great use for repairing tissue damage within the body as the heat does not have to work at the top level of the skin as with several of the other electrotherapy for meniscus tear treatments. It can be directly targeted within the body to have an effect on the internal areas of the joints.