A Beginner’s Guide to Functional Electrical Stimulation
Before we dive deep into the topic, let us first understand what FES is. FES or Functional Electrical Stimulation Therapy is a treatment method used by physiotherapists to improve muscle activity for those who are suffering from neurological conditions.
The FES treatment method helps to strengthen muscles and can also considerably increase your ability to do daily functional activities such as walking, dressing, bathing, lifting objects, and such.
During the treatment of Functional Electrical Stimulation, physiotherapists will use electrical impulses to stimulate your muscles which causes those muscles to contract. Depending on which muscles you need to strengthen, your therapist will use electrodes focusing on those areas.
How Does FES Work
Let us give you a clear picture of how FES works. As we stated earlier, functional electrical stimulation uses low-level electrical impulses down your muscles which helps to contract your muscles and strengthen them thus helping those limbs to move.
FES is a treatment option that is non-invasive and does not involve any pain while performing the procedure. The patient will only feel a tingling sensation in your body.
FES uses only a small unit of electrical current. This current is passed to your body through the electrodes which are attached to your skin. These electrodes can be used almost anywhere on your body where you wish to improve your movement. For example, if you have difficulty bending your knee, the electrodes can be placed behind your knees and it will help them to bend.
Types of FES
Depending on the condition that the person is suffering from and with regard to the aim of the treatment, Functional Electrical Stimulation can be used in several different ways. The electrical stimulation is intended to improve our blood circulation, avoid muscle atrophy, and improve and maintain range of motion.
Functional Electrical Stimulation therapy will help you strengthen a wide range of muscles in the arms, legs and trunk. There are several treatment methods available when it comes to Functional Electrical Stimulation therapy. Your physiotherapist will help you find the right one that will help you reach your desired goals.
Benefits of FES
There are several benefits of using the FES unit as an exercise tool to help improve everyday functional ability and to regain muscle strength from a neurological injury. Given below are some of the benefits of using FES;
- Helps to increase muscle strength in desired areas
- Ease in doing daily activities such as reaching or carrying an object with a weaker limp
- Helps to improve walking pattern
- Helps to reduce the risk of falling
- Helps to improve walking speed
- Easy-to-use FES units that can be carried anywhere
- Pocket size FES units and discrete electrodes
- Improves the ability to get a bath and dress without depending on anyone else.
- Ability to drink and eat with an even weaker upper limb
- Helps to restore the dependency on others and increase the quality of life.
Who Is Suitable for FES?
Individuals who suffer from muscle paralysis due to damage to their central nervous system can make use of Functional Electrical Stimulation. There are several neurological causes that result in muscle weakness and injury to the central nervous system such as;
- Head injury
- Parkinsons disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Multi-system atrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
People who have to deal with foot drops due to a broken leg or an ankle from a peripheral nerve injury are not considered fit for FES treatment. This is because the damage is on the peripheral nerves and not on the central nervous system.
List of people who should avoid Functional Electrical Stimulation treatment;
- People who are suffering from peripheral nerve injury
- Pregnant people should avoid getting an FES treatment
- Those who have a cardiac pacemaker
- Individuals who have epilepsy
Physio Healing Hands FES Programme
The functional electrical stimulation therapy programme that Physio-Healing Hands provide is clinically proven to improve the strength of the paralysed muscles. Our specially skilled and trained physiotherapist will deliver you the best treatment possible.
First of all, our physiotherapist will evaluate the overall health condition of the individual and conduct a detailed physical assessment. After that, they will determine which equipment will suit you the most. If you wish to know more about the services we provide, just remember that we are just one call away!
This may also interest you:
Dig deeper into physiotherapy, health, and related topics that you care about by signing up for our newsletter.