Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is one of the most common forms of electrotherapy. It involves the use of low-frequency electrical stimulation to reduce pain. A systematic review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2016) found that TENS may be effective for reducing pain in the short-term for people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. However, the review also found that the evidence for the long-term effectiveness of TENS is limited.
Interferential current therapy (IFC) is another form of electrotherapy that uses a low-frequency electrical stimulation to reduce pain and improve muscle function. A systematic review published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine (2015) found that IFC may be effective for reducing pain and improving muscle function in people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions. However, electrotherapy like Interferential current therapy (IFC) can also be used in acute injury and in conditions like acute and chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and in post-surgery rehabilitation.
In conclusion, while physiotherapy has come a long way in recent years, there are still some "old school" techniques that have been proven to be ineffective. It is important to stay up to date with the latest research and to question the effectiveness of any treatment that is being proposed. As a patient, always ask your physiotherapist about the evidence behind the treatment and the expected outcome.
In the spirit of reconciliation Articulate acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
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