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Neuro-muscular Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation can be used in rehabilitation for numerous reasons. Our main reasons are return to muscle use and pain control. There are multiple settings on a NMES or TENS unit. The one we use often in rehabilitation is the setting for pain control. This is set at a continuous vibration that runs between two electrode pads. When placed further apart, the deeper the feeling goes. We use this most immediately post op or after an acute painful incident. This helps with immediate pain control and edema around the site.
We also use the stronger muscular stimulation in patients that have lost the ability to use a limb. If an animal has had back surgery and can't use their lower limbs yet, or have had a spinal stroke, this setting helps to get the muscles contracting without the animal having to move. This then allows the muscles to stay stronger longer and not become as atrophied without movement.
The skin does need to be shaved to get good contact between the electrode pads and the skin. So unfortunately, your pet will have a funny hair cut for a while. But the results we get from being able to help the muscle be strong and pain free, are worth the embarrassment of a couple naked spots.
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