Physical Therapy And Athletic Training Settings

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Interferential current (IFC) electrical stimulation is vastly used in the physical therapy and athletic training settings to control pain. This can be done via the gate control theory or opiate release mechanism and on the sensory or motor level depending on the parameters set. IFC is commonly thought of when trying to reduce acute pain in athletes, but there have also been studies using this modality for chronic pain in individuals. As an athletic trainer, it is important to determine whether IFC can effectively control or limit chronic pain in order to decide how to implement successful treatment to athletes who have chronic orthopedic conditions such as persistent low back, or knee pain. The application of IFC consists of four…show more content…
Some other major contraindications of IFC include pacemakers, pregnancy, cardiac diseases, history of seizures, and unstable fractures (Starkey, 2013). IFC can be used in conjunction with heat packs or ice bags/cold packs to reach other therapeutic effects. When a heat pack is applied, it creates a greater blood flow to the injury site. This aids in the removal of debris from the location of the injury as well as reduces the resistance the IFC has to travel through since blood is a good electrical conductor. Also, since tissues with high water content can transmit electricity easier (Starkey, 2013) and the heat causes the patient to sweat, more current can flow through the skin due to its increased water percentage. If the injury is still in the acute inflammatory stage of the injury response process, a cold pack or ice bag can be administered with IFC to further decrease inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain. One way to minimize pain using IFC is by the gate control theory. When an injury occurs, a pain signal is sent to the brain, which then interprets the signal as a painful stimulus. With gate control theory the signal to the brain is stopped or interfered with due to the closing of the gate that the signal must pass through. This effect can be reached using IFC when the pulse frequency is high and intensity is low (Starkey, 2013). Eftekharsadat, Babaei-Ghazani, Habibzadeh, and Kolahi (2015) performed a study comparing IFC and action potential simulation with
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