Electrostimulation is an electric current application method used for excitation and activation of certain organs and systems of the human body. The word “electrostimulation” is often applied incorrectly to define any exposure with electric current. Although many organs and systems can be stimulated by electric currents by adequate methods and techniques applied, the most widely practiced application is heart electrostimulation, being a specific section of medicine, and electrostimulation of motor nerves and muscles.
For electrostimulation, direct impulse currents of different impulse shapes (rectangular, exponential, semi-sinusoidal) are applied at different duration (ranging from 1 to 300 msec) and series modulation of variable duration and frequency at current strength up to 50 mA. For these purposes, alternate sinusoidal modulated currents of 2000 and 5000 Hz carrier frequency at current strength up to 80 mA are used as well.
When impulse current passes through tissues with fast actuation and breaking at semipermeable membranes, including cytomembranes, there appears a sudden accumulation of great number of likely charged ions. This leads to reversible changes of cell colloids and cellular excitation, in particular, motor-related excitation, if exposed to motor nerve or muscle. Stimulation of muscular elements benefits to venous blood circulation and lymph flow. Motor excitation results in increased blood flow in excited muscles, to intensification of metabolic processes, nucleic acid synthesis, including RNA. Besides, due to stimulation, afferentation of muscles to CNS is increased, DNA volume in large pyramidal cells rises, which serves an evidence of increased CNS functions. The blood content of somatotropic hormone, immunoreactive insulin and C-peptide is increased as well.
For prophylaxis, electrical stimulation is used to sustain and supply the muscles, preventing its atrophy during forced immobilization and hypokinesia caused by other factors (diseases of the joints, etc.), as well as for prevention of postoperative phlebothrombosis. For therapeutic purposes, electrical stimulation is most frequently used to restore the function of damaged motor nerve, to treat paresis and paralysis, neuritis, facial muscles restoration, as well as in spastic paralysis. It should be noted that recently the electrostimulation method is increasingly used to normalize functions in diseases of internal organs and systems: reflux - esophagitis, hypotonic biliary dyskinesia, recovery of intestine motor function in atonic constipation after abdominal operations, etc.
The effect of nilamide and some anesthetics (procaine, benzocaine, analgin) potentiates the therapeutic effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve, while paravertebral novocain blocks impair the effect of electrostimulation.
While causing motor excitation and contraction of the muscles, pulsed electrical currents increase blood and lymph circulation by reflex, as well as the entire complex of metabolic and trophic processes aimed at energy supply to working muscles, providing antiparabiotic effect on nerve tissues. Plastic processes, synthesis of nucleic acids are activated there as well.
For patients with peripheral paresis, electrostimulation helps to prevent muscle atrophy, increase contractility, muscles tone, improve the conduction of nerve trunks and electroexcitability of neuromuscular system, decreased inhibition of segmental motoneurons in the area of functional asynapsis and, thus, to reduce the severity of movement disorders, rehabilitation of movements. For patients with central paresis due to elimination of imbalance between the facilitating and inhibitory supraspinal systems, electrostimulation improves the regulation of motor activity, partially restores the reciprocal relations and contractile force of antagonist muscles, creates a new dynamic stereotype, activates functionally inactive neurons around the lesion, helps to reduce spasticity, to increase range of motion and improve coordination.
Stimulation of muscle function of the internal organs leads to improved efficiency and interaction and regulate their systems. This helps to reduce or eliminate existing pathological processes of functional character. Electrical stimulation also leads to improved function of the weakened sphincter and improves secretory and motor functions of the organ.
Indications for use of electrostimulation: motor impairments (paresis, paralysis) due to diseases and injuries of the central and peripheral nervous systems, disorders of motor or closing function of the stomach, intestines, biliary tract, bladder, ureters, uterus and its appendages, impotence, muscle stimulation to improve peripheral arterial and venous blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, stimulating the diaphragm and abdominal wall muscles to improve breathing, increase and strengthening the muscle mass in athletes; scoliosis, etc.