WHAT IS NMES?
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a therapeutic technique that involves the use of electrical currents to stimulate nerves that control specific muscle groups in the body. The primary purpose of NMES is to induce muscle contractions and improve muscle strength, endurance and function.
NMES can be used in various neurological conditions, such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and more, to address muscle weakness, improve muscle recruitment and facilitate functional recovery.
The key clinical benefits of NMES include but are not limited to:
• Muscle Activation and Strength Recovery 1,2
• Improved Motor learning and Control 5,6,7,8
• Pain Management 4
• Functional Improvement & Increased Range of Motion 2,8
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Treatment of Muscle Impairment: Critical Review and Recommendations for Clinical Practice 9
The objective of this study was to identify commonly treated conditions for which there was a substantial body of literature from which to draw conclusions regarding the effectiveness of NMES included as part of a complete program. Optimal outcomes using NMES may be found for a range of conditions listed below.
Stroke rehabilitation including:
- Hemiplegic shoulder subluxation
- Loss of hand and upper extremity function
- Gait impairment due to foot-drop or impaired control of leg muscles
Muscuoskeletal conditions including acute and chronic conditions
- Post-op ACLR and meniscal injuries
- Pre- and post-surgical care after joint (hip and knee) replacement
- Treatment of OA knee
Critical illness and the treatment of advanced disease:
- Muscle atrophy affecting patients in ICU
CLINICAL STUDY OVERVIEW
Early Superimposed NMES Training is Effective to Improve Strength
and Function Following ACL Reconstruction 2
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is a valuable tool in the rehabilitation process following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery. NMES is a valuable adjunct to the rehabilitation process following ACL reconstruction surgery. It can help activate and strengthen muscles, reduce pain and swelling, improve neuromuscular control, and facilitate a quicker return to functional activities.
The importance of NMES post-ACL reconstruction can be understood in the context of its potential benefits and its role in the overall rehabilitation program:
1. Muscle Activation and Strength Recovery 1,2
2. Improved Motor Control 3
3. Pain Management 5
4. Early Weight-Bearing and Range of Motion 5
See video for an overview of the clinical study 'Early Superimposed NMES Training is Effective to Improve Strength and Function Following ACL Reconstruction with Hamstring Graft regardless of Tendon Regeneration' (Lubanca et. al. 2022)
What is the difference between NMES and TENS?
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) are both electrotherapy techniques that use electrical currents to interact with the body's nervous system and muscles, but they serve different purposes.
TENS is primarily used for pain relief by targeting sensory nerves, while NMES is used to stimulate muscles by targeting motor nerves, with the goal of improving muscle function and strength.
Are NMES and TENS devices the same?
TENS therapy delivers different types of electrotherapy waveforms to NMES therapy. All Chattanooga and Compex devices offer both NMES and TENS functionality. See the chart below to decide which device if right for your clinic.
Which NMES device is right for my clinic?
How long do electrodes last?
Good quality electrodes such as Chattanooga and Compex electrodes can last up to 20-30 uses by one patient. The life of electrodes can be extended by keeping them refridgerated in a sealed bag.
6. Mesci et. al. The effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on clinical improvement in hemiplegic lower extremity rehabilitation in chronic stroke: A single-blind, randomised, controlled trial. 2009
9. Nussbaum EL, Houghton P, Anthony J, Rennie S, Shay BL, Hoens AM. Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Treatment of Muscle Impairment: Critical Review and Recommendations for Clinical Practice. Physiother Can. 2017;69(5):1-76. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2015-88. PMID: 29162949; PMCID: PMC5683854.