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Bioelectric therapy

Bioelectric therapy uses electrical current to help block pain signals to the brain. The technique is similar to TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

Bioelectric therapy also prompts the body to produce endorphins that help to relieve pain.

What conditions are treated with bioelectric therapy?

Bioelectric therapy can be used to treat chronic and acute pain conditions including:

Bioelectric therapy isn't right for everyone. It is not recommended for people who:

How effective is bioelectric therapy?

Bioelectric therapy is effective in providing temporary pain control, but it should only be part of a total pain management programme. When used along with conventional pain-relieving medication, bioelectric treatment may reduce the dose of some pain medication by up to 50%.

What happens during bioelectric therapy?

During bioelectric therapy, several small, flat rubber adhesive discs (called electrodes) are applied to your skin at prescribed areas to be treated. Sometimes rubber suction cups - called vaso pneumatic devices - may be applied to your skin. The electrodes are hooked up to a computer that programs the precise treatment dosage required. High frequency alternating electrical currents - around 4,000 cycles per second - are then applied to the electrodes. The currents move through the skin quickly with little discomfort. During treatment, your response to the electrical stimulation is measured.

When electricity is applied, a mild vibrating, tingling sensation is common. This sensation should not be uncomfortable - you should feel a relaxing, soothing pain relief. As the currents are applied, you will be asked how they feel. If the sensation becomes too strong, make sure you mention this at once so that the treatment can be adjusted. You should be comfortable and enjoy the treatment, which lasts about 20 minutes.

What are the side effects of bioelectric therapy?

In rare cases, skin irritation and redness can occur under the electrodes during bioelectric therapy.

How often should I have bioelectric therapy?

The number of bioelectric therapy sessions required depends on each person's condition and response to treatment. One bioelectric therapy session does not usually result in pain relief. A usual course of treatment typically involves 16 to 20 treatments.

How do I prepare for bioelectric therapy?

If you are taking insulin or blood-thinning medication, your doctor may give you specific instructions to follow before you have bioelectric therapy.

You may be asked to fast before the procedure and you may need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home after treatment.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 07, 2017

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