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Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES or TENS) is a therapeutic modality used to both strengthen muscles and for pain relief. It is applied by placing electrode pads against the skin or coat with a conductivity gel. At lower frequencies, electrical stimulation is commonly known as a TENS (therapeutic electrical neuromuscular stimulation), and stimulates sensory fiber recruitment, resulting in acute pain relief. At higher frequencies (NMES) motor fibers are recruited resulting in muscle strengthening. NMES is most often used in patients that are too weak to move certain muscle groups. By utilizing this tool, we can strengthen the weak muscles to a point where they can start to contract on their own. TENS units can be used for pain management at any point in the rehabilitation process.