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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.

We have 2 dedicated exercise stimulators – the Microstim 2v2 and the Odstock 4 Channel Stimulator.

As well as this, the ODFS® Pace and ODFS® Pace XL has an exercise mode, which is ideal for muscle training prior to walking.