Neuromuscular Electrostimulation (NMES)
Neuromuscular electrostimulation (NMES) is the use of an electrical current across a muscle causing that muscle to contract.
NMES is used to exercise muscles of patients who cannot or should not contract their own muscles. This includes patients affected by paralysis, degenerative muscular diseases, extreme atrophy following injury or surgery, and/or those restricted from activity to allow bone healing. NMES allows muscle mass to be maintained and/or to increase during the recovery phase.
NMES can also be used in a pulsed fashion, causing the muscle to “pump” and move excess fluid from an area of the body. This helps patients with reduced mobility who have developed a buildup of fluid (“edema”) similar to the swelling in our ankles after sitting for excessive periods of time. This technique can also be used post-surgically to reduce discomfort.
NMES is not painful when applied appropriately. We introduce NMES slowly to allow dogs and cats to become comfortable with the odd feeling of a movement that they did not initiate. It is tolerated very well by the vast majority of patients.
NMES can also be utilized for a process called iontophoresis (alternatively called “ionophoresis”). A good application of this therapy would be the use of a medicated pad to help break down calcification in a tendon or muscle to improve function.