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Posted on 09-28-2015

EMS vs. TENS after Baltimore Auto Accident Injuries

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my time treating patients injured in Baltimore auto accidents, I often get asked what the difference is between EMS and TENS. These are acronyms used for two common pain modulating modalities. EMS stands for electric muscle stimulation. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. In my clinic we utilize EMS following Baltimore auto accident injuries. So whats the difference?

EMS uses a cycle of electrical current that allows the muscles to contract and relax, increasing blood flow and promoting healing. It helps to relax spasmodic muscles and sooth the deep ache of muscle pain such as that experienced in Baltimore auto accident whiplash injuries. As the name implies, the purpose of the EMS modalities to stimulate injured and atrophied MUSCLES. There is also a pain modulating effect, but it is not the primary goal of EMS. EMS helps to improve ranges of motion as well by reducing swelling. You can see a picture of an EMS machine here.

TENS is thought to promote the production of ATP at a cellular level by stimulating NERVES and helping to modulate pain by overriding the sensation of pain prior to its interpretation in the brain. Typically speaking TENS units are usually sold over the counter and can be worn conveniently on a belt clip and can be taken with you. You can see a picture of a TENS unit here.

Truth be told, utilizing either TENS or EMS following a Baltimore auto accident injury will help you regardless of which you choose. I often tell patients in pain following injuries that if they have a machine at home, regardless of which one they have, that they are better off using the machine than not using it. EMS gives the treating provider a few more options to help with muscle spasm and pain, but TENS works just fine.

Despite the benefits of TENS and EMS, not every injured patient can utilize these therapies. Patients with open wounds, eczema, patients with pacemakers, or pregnant women (over a gravid uterus) can not utilize these modalities for pain.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from muscle and/or nerve pain following a Baltimore auto accident injury, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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