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Electrical stimulation

Neuro Café 20th July 2022 by Linda S

  • Electrical stimulation is a technique used to elicit a muscle contraction using electrical impulses.

  • Electrodes, controlled by a unit, are placed on the skin over a predetermined area

  • Electrical current is then sent from the unit to the electrodes and delivered into the muscle causing a contraction.

  • Different machines are available. Companies call their devices by different names.

Electrical stimulation is not suitable for all conditions;

  • YES for brain and spinal cord damage.

  • NO for damage to peripheral nerves.

There are many different devices on the market. Machines can have different parameters according to the device. Some may look complicated but in fact are quite simple. They can be wired or wireless.


  • Decreased pain

  • Muscle re-education and strengthening

  • Increased range of motion

  • Increased circulation

  • Decreased spasticity

  • Reduced oedema

  • Decreased inflammation

  • Improved overall function


  • Systematic reviews have concluded that electrical stimulation can be beneficial for function but more good quality trials are needed to understand:

- Mechanism of recovery

- Timing of intervention

- Dosage

- Influence of impairment level

- Influence of cognitive effort

See the LEGS Members’ Area for the slides from this session and more details.

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