Strengthening muscles with electrical stimulation
Electrical stimulation can be a useful form of exercise when you are lacking voluntary controlled movement to make effective contractions. Repetitive graded contractions can also have beneficial exercise effects.
The main effects are:
- Increase in muscle bulk. This can help to avoid pressure sores and improve your overall appearance.
- Increase in muscle strength. If you have muscles that are partially paralysed, exercise can lead to more effective function.
- Reduction in spasticity. Regular electrical stimulation exercise can lead to a reduction in muscle tone, resulting in improved range of motion.
- Improved fatigue resistance. From regular exercise, you can improve the length of time muscle contractions can be maintained for.
- Re-education of movement. We have found in some cases; exercising muscles can lead to improved voluntary control and you have a greater awareness of the effected limb.
The typical applications of muscle exercise are:
- Muscle strengthening before walking following stroke, Multiple Sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
- Exercising the lower limb muscle groups, following paraplegia or tetraplegia, can improve body image, control spasticity and prevent pressure sores.
- Improve upper limb function. For more information, see the Arm Function section.
- Control of spasticity in late stage Multiple Sclerosis.
- Treatment of contracture in stroke, head injury and Cerebral Palsy often used in conjunction with botulinum toxin and/or splinting.
As well as this, the ODFS® Pace and ODFS® Pace XL has an exercise mode, which is ideal for muscle training prior to walking.