Hi all, I am progressing slowly but surely.  This week my PT suggested that I buy a electrical muscle stimulator to help along my calf muscle rehab at home.  He said that at first the EMS (during or after exercises) can reverse the atrophy that has set in and then later can help build strength for heel raises. It also may help in terms of pain and soreness in the muscle.  Because of my series of operations, I have lost considerable muscle mass in my calf.  My PT added that in my case I could easily use the EMS for several months.

Has anyone tried this?  If so was it useful and what type of programs on the machine did they use to rebuild muscle? It seems EMS’s benefits is not completely clear, but it is certainly used a lot in physical therapy.

9 Responses to “Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)?”

  1. bcurr Says:

    I looked into purchasing a TENS/ultrasonic machine but was told not to bother by my doctor. Saying that though, if you can afford it I don’t think it can do any harm and may do some good. If it seems like an expensive purchase though don’t think that you do need it to recover as it won’t do nearly as much as a good set of PT exercises.

  2. Stuart Says:

    TENS is different to EMS. Forget about TENS. Its affects are short lived regarding pain. EMS runs at higher frequency and will have a longer pain relief. There also seems to be more benefit with muscle atrophy. EMS machines are much more expensive. Maybe look into hiring.

  3. wilco Says:

    Hi, yes TENS is nerve stimulation, so pain control, whereas EMS is stimulating the muscle. Anyway they are ca 200 euro or more here. (the ‘one by compex’ is on sale at decathlon for 199 that seems to be good value)

    My PT puts some EMS ca 10 min sometimes, and ultrasonic also sometimes. Not sure about either of them. I think the massage beats the ultrasonic in terms of creating blood flow and loosening the tissue and muscle. And I prefer the controlled exercises over the EMS spasms, over which I have much less control. Especially when she combined it with a light stretch I felt uncomfortable with it. So I wont be buying on for myself. By the way, the biking, swimming and walking got me almost completely limpless.
    Ah and one great exercise from my sister to get my balance back: stand on one leg (your bad one of course) and close your eyes when brushing your teeth :) Seems to work nicely!

  4. Stuart Says:

    I would have to agree with Wilco although your circumstance may be a little different to most. Real exercise is always better than fake.

  5. wilco Says:

    How are you doing on the recovery? FWB, but can you comfortably walk for a bit now? Also do you have a bicycle (stationary) you can spin a bit on? I found that the light setting, for 30 min a day got a lot of the muscle back within a few weeks.
    Still, given your specific situation an EMS may be worth the investment. And you can still use it to work on your sixpack while watching tv :)

  6. ahnadlass Says:

    I finally decided to buy the one for 199 on the advice of my PT, and I used it for the first time last night. I saw my surgeon for a follow-up today, and she thought it would not be that useful to build muscle as I will soon be able to do more exercises, build up more stamina on the stationary bike, walk more etc. Reasonable minds may differ. I will have to get value for money by using the fun programs like the back massage program once I am more mobile.

  7. wilco Says:

    I was thinking about this thing, and I imagine that it may be a very useful complement to exercises as it is easy to integrate it into an existing routine: i.e. every time you turn on the tv or read something in the evening (or whatever your evening routine is) you can put it on and get a bit of a workout.
    All these exercises we are doing (or not doing) require ‘extra’ attention (and time) to remember to do them, which is more cumbersome.

  8. Joe Klunder Says:

    Last Wednesday I got surgery to repair my torn Achilles tendon an am planning to use my LG-TEC Elite for rehab (originally bought this for a shoulder injury). Around the time I bought this the LG-TECH Elite seemed the be the best $100 range value, according the the hours of research. My questions is, can I adjust the settings myself or shoulder a doctor “dial it in”?

  9. Jake White Says:

    This is an interesting article. Two of my brothers within 2 weeks of each other had shoulder surgery. One of my brothers was the quarterback on our football team and now we are left without a quarterback, so we are trying to help him recover quickly! I will relay this information onto him because we are currently trying to see if we could have him use an EMS machine on his shoulder. Thanks for sharing these comments.