Electrotherapy is commonly used to provide pain relief and promote healing for bone, muscle and ligament injuries.


The main methods of electrotherapy are: Therapeutic Ultrasound, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and Interferential Therapy. Here at Sheffield Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy, it’s clinical application falls into 4 areas:

  •  Pain relief

  • Muscle stimulation

  • Increased local blood flow

  • Reduction of swelling


Pain Relief:

Sometimes the amount of pain can be the limiting factor that is restricting the body from movement and from healing effectively. TENS can be used to instantly reduce the pain by stimulating the nerves that are limited by the perception of pain. By reducing pain, this gives a great opportunity for the physiotherapist to apply a manual therapy technique to help the patient break the cycle of pain and immobility.


Muscle Stimulation:

Interferential Therapy was first invented in Russia by stimulating the muscles nerves over several frequencies that resulted in strength gains. This is great for patients that cannot produce a voluntary muscle contraction due to a neurological injury or if a specific muscle is weak the electrodes can be placed on that muscle to gain strength and correct the biomechanics of a joint. The sensation of interferential Therapy can be strange because the muscles can contract involuntary.


Increased Blood flow:

Blood is an amazing property that is essential for life. It also holds all the necessary nutrition and cells that are required for tissue repair. There are areas in the body that has limited blood supply such as tendons, and they can take a long time to heal due to the lack of blood. Ultrasound is a medium that is commonly used at Sheffield Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy to aid in pushing blood that is on the surface of the skin, toward the target tissue. This gentle treatment is painless and is a simple way to increase the rate of soft tissue and bone healing.


Reduction of Swelling:

Interferential Therapy has another use and is an effective treatment to promote the reabsorption of swelling in the tissues. When there is a lot of swelling present this causes pain due to the amount of pressure that is applied onto the nerves. The treatment causes the muscles to contract and relax very quickly therefore making the muscles act like a pump to stimulate the movement of swelling, resulting in the reduction of local pressure. Patients with Osteoarthritis, lymphoma and acute soft tissue injury have benefited greatly from this treatment.