Why Do Chiropractors Use Electrical Stimulation?

by | Jul 19, 2023 | 0 comments

6 min read

If you’re on a quest to relieve pain and keep your body in top-notch shape, let’s talk about an unsung hero in the world of chiropractic care: electrical muscle stimulation!

Picture this: an electrical stimulation device that sends gentle electrical pulses to your muscles, causing them to contract and then relax, just like they would during a workout, but without you having to lift a finger!

Electrical stimulation has been an effective therapeutic method in healthcare for years. It can help ease pain, reduce inflammation, promote muscle strength, and even speed up your recovery!

So, whether you’re dealing with an injury, chronic muscle tension, or just trying to take your fitness to the next level, adding EMS into your chiropractic care could be a game-changer!

What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)?

Electric muscle stimulation is a therapeutic method that uses small electrical impulses to trigger muscle contractions. It’s like your body’s natural electrical signals, but on steroids, helping to improve muscle condition and tone.

Imagine you’re doing a bicep curl. Your brain sends an electrical signal down to your bicep, telling it to contract and lift that dumbbell. EMS works on a similar principle but instead, the gentle electrical signal is delivered through small pads placed on your skin!

It’s often used by physiotherapists, chiropractors, and even sports trainers to help patients:

  • Recover from injuries
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Get toned up faster

How Electrical Muscle Stimulation Works

Electric muscle stimulation uses a device that sends electrical pulses to stimulate your muscles, making them contract. This device is connected to several small pads attached to the muscles you want to work on. When you turn it on, these pulses go through the pads and into your skin stimulating your muscles.

The pulses are timed just right, so your muscles contract and then relax. It’s like doing a workout, but without actually moving! Plus, you can control the intensity, frequency, and duration of the impulses to match your comfort level and fitness goals.

However, EMS isn’t a replacement for good old-fashioned exercise; it’s always best used in conjunction with a regular exercise routine and a balanced diet.

The Other Types of Electric Stimulation

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): It works by sending low-voltage electrical currents through the skin to the nerves underneath. TENS helps block or reduce pain signals sent to the brain, thus alleviating chronic pain.
  • Interferential Current (IFC): This type of electric stimulation uses two high-frequency currents that cross paths (hence the name). It’s used mostly for deep tissue pain relief because it can penetrate deeper than TENS or EMS. It’s also used to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Russian Electrical Stimulation: This type of EMS uses medium frequencies to stimulate muscle contraction. It was developed by the Russians (hence the name) and is often used in sports training to strengthen the muscles.
  • Microcurrent Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulator (MENS): It’s mostly used for healing soft tissue injuries and wounds by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes.
  • High Voltage Pulsed Galvanic Stimulation (HVPGS): This type uses short bursts of high-voltage electrical currents. It’s used mostly to manage acute pain, reduce swelling, and promote healing, especially for patients with poor circulation or sensation, like those with diabetes.

electrical muscle stimulation

What are the Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation?

Strengthening the Muscles

EMS gives your muscles a bit of a workout by triggering muscle contractions. This can be especially useful if you’ve been injured or had surgery and need a gentle way to start rebuilding your muscle strength without putting too much stress on the weaker muscles in your body.

Speeding Up the Workout Recovery Process

EMS is also a bit of a superstar when it comes to helping with recovery after a workout. By enhancing blood flow, it can flush out lactic acid (the culprit behind muscle soreness) and release tension.

Improving Muscle Stiffness

EMS also helps patients struggling with muscle spasms or stiffness by relaxing the muscles and increasing range of motion.

Boosting Your Blood Flow

With boosted blood circulation and more oxygen and nutrients reaching the tissues, EMS speeds up the healing process, especially when it comes to soft tissue injuries.

Who is Not a Candidate for Electric Muscle Stimulation?

While electrical muscle stimulation does benefit numerous patients, it’s not a one-size-fits-all therapy method. Certain conditions exclude EMS altogether, such as:

  • Pregnant Women: If you’re expecting, it’s generally advised to steer clear of EMS. The electrical currents could potentially affect the baby. It’s best to play it safe and wait until after delivery.
  • Patients with Pacemakers or Other Implanted Electronic Devices: EMS interferes with the performance of these devices, potentially causing serious health issues.
  • Patients with Heart Conditions: If you have a heart condition, check with your doctor before trying EMS, as electrical stimulation might affect your heart rhythm.
  • Patients with Epilepsy: Electrical stimulation could trigger a seizure.
  • Patients with Certain Skin Conditions: Avoid EMS if you have a skin condition in the area where the EMS electrodes would be placed. The stimulation can irritate the skin or worsen the condition.

How Does Chiropractic Care Include Electrical Muscle Stimulation?

Chiropractic care and electrical muscle stimulation make an amazing team!

In addition to manual adjustments, many chiropractors use EMS as part of their overall therapeutic approach. The goal of chiropractic care isn’t just to fix misalignments in the spine. It’s also about improving the function of the nervous system and helping the body heal itself. And EMS fits right into that philosophy!

Injuries or even chronic tension in your muscles can throw your whole body off balance, leading to pain and restricted movement. By targeting these problem areas directly, EMS stimulates the muscles, thus breaking up tension, reducing inflammation, and promoting the healing process.

Don’t be surprised if your chiropractor suggests EMS therapy when you go in for a chiropractic adjustment! They might use it before your adjustment to help your muscles relax and make your treatment more effective. Or, they could use it after the adjustment to help reduce any residual tension and speed up your recovery.

Like any therapeutic approach, EMS isn’t for everyone, so it’s always best to have a chat with your healthcare provider before jumping in. They can help you figure out if it’s the right fit for your health goals!

electrical stimulation

Let Chiropractic Electrical Stimulation Help You Achieve Pain Relief!

At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. 

Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic treatment services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!


  1. Bacharach, Elizabeth. “What Are EMS Workouts and Are They Really Worth the Hype?” Shape, Shape, 17 June 2022, www.shape.com/fitness/trends/electrical-stimulation-workouts. Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.