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What Is Interferential Therapy?

Interferential Therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses electrical currents to stimulate the body's natural healing processes, reducing pain and accelerating recovery. By crossing low-frequency signals, it penetrates deeper into tissues, enhancing circulation and endorphin production. Curious about how this innovative therapy could benefit you and what the treatment experience entails? Dive deeper into the world of pain management with us.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Interferential therapy is a form of electrical stimulation therapy that involves the application of two currents at slightly different frequencies that interfere with each other in the tissues of the body and generate a third low frequency current. It can be used to treat sprains and other muscle injuries under the direction of a physician or physical therapist. Not all patients are suitable candidates for interferential therapy. It is important to perform a thorough patient evaluation before proceeding with therapy.

Electrical stimulation of the nerves and muscles can be performed in a number of ways. It appears to block pain signals and can also promote greater muscle strength and flexibility. In physical therapy, the use of techniques like interferential therapy can improve patient outcomes. Critics caution that interferential therapy has not been widely studied in controlled conditions, and some of the claims made about it may not withstand rigorous scientific evaluation.

In some cases, interferential therapy is used in conjunction with physical therapy.
In some cases, interferential therapy is used in conjunction with physical therapy.

In a session, the doctor applies electrodes to the area of interest and activates the machine to deliver 10 to 15 minutes of therapy to the patient. The patient may experience a tingling sensation but the interferential therapy shouldn't hurt or shock her. The continuous delivery approach varies from other techniques where patients receive a series of pulses to stimulate muscles and nerves. This therapy may be repeated several times a week and should be part of a larger physical therapy regimen.

Interferential therapy may be used to treat sprains, such as in the elbow.
Interferential therapy may be used to treat sprains, such as in the elbow.

The origins of this therapy lie in Europe, where physical therapists began using it in the 1950s. The use of medium frequency currents bypasses some of the problems with directly applying low frequency current. Interferential stimulation can penetrate more deeply while mimicking the effects of a low frequency current through the interference between the two frequencies. The patient should experience a flood of endorphins around the site during therapy sessions, with minimal side effects.

Electrical stimulation of the nerves and the muscles can be used to treat acute injuries and chronic pain in a number of ways.
Electrical stimulation of the nerves and the muscles can be used to treat acute injuries and chronic pain in a number of ways.

Patients with an interest in electrical stimulation therapy can discuss it with a doctor and physical therapist. It may have some potential uses in a given case, and a doctor can clear the patient for treatment with an interview and physical examination. Patients with pacemakers and other electronic medical devices may not be able to use interferential therapy, and it is important to use equipment designed and rated for this purpose. Patients can also ask to see inspection and maintenance records to confirm that the equipment is in good operating condition and will be safe for use.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • In some cases, interferential therapy is used in conjunction with physical therapy.
      By: Ambrophoto
      In some cases, interferential therapy is used in conjunction with physical therapy.
    • Interferential therapy may be used to treat sprains, such as in the elbow.
      By: praisaeng
      Interferential therapy may be used to treat sprains, such as in the elbow.
    • Electrical stimulation of the nerves and the muscles can be used to treat acute injuries and chronic pain in a number of ways.
      By: praisaeng
      Electrical stimulation of the nerves and the muscles can be used to treat acute injuries and chronic pain in a number of ways.
    • A doctor may perform a physical examination to ensure that it is safe for a patient to engage in interferential therapy.
      By: asierromero
      A doctor may perform a physical examination to ensure that it is safe for a patient to engage in interferential therapy.