Whether you’re dealing with muscle injury or frequent episodes of fibromyalgia pain, electrical muscle stimulation can be incredibly helpful.  

Muscle Stimulation (EMS) or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) uses muscle stimulator pads to elicit a muscle contraction by delivering electrical impulses. These impulses stimulate your motor neurons. 

EMS muscle stimulators are portable devices that you can use at your home as your personal physio. 

Most of these back pads for pain feature various modes to create unique muscle contractions, quick and frequent, with long pauses or in a certain rhythmic pattern. 

How Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Work? 

Normally, your brain sends stimuli (electrical impulses)through your CNS for contracting and relaxing your muscles. However, an EMS device generates intense impulses for engaging deep and complete muscular contractions without actually putting excessive strain on your CNS, tendons, joints, or ligaments. 

The most amazing part? Your body can’t differentiate between a voluntary contraction impulse and external electrical stimulation. Your body only understands that there is a signal and reacts based on it.

What Are The Benefits Of EMS?

EMS units using a back pad for pain are helpful for:

  • Alleviates pain
  • Improve blood circulation and tissue perforation
  • Enhances tissue healing
  • Maintains and enables regaining muscle activity
  • Overall improved quality of life. 

Sounds too hard to believe? Well, we’ve curated some research that shows the positive effects of EMS. 

Wherever you’re searching for a back muscle stimulator online, ensure to select devices that are endorsed by doctors or leading healthcare institutions. 

Scientific Studies Supporting The Application of EMS Muscle Stimulator

  • A paper published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning highlighted that EMS therapy increased muscular strength (dynamic, static and speed) and motor abilities in both strength-trained and elite athletes. 
  • Another article authored by Jin-seop Kim and Duck-won Oh, published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, showed promising results in obese women with high-frequency muscle stimulation for reducing subcutaneous fat mass. 

What about back pain?

  • An RCT study published in PubMed revealed a significant reduction of back pain in patients using EMS and heat therapy together than the control group. 
  • A 2017 study discovered that 16–25 minutes of whole-body EMS every week helped alleviate lower back pain intensity by almost an average of 87%, and reduction in the frequency of episodes lower back pain frequency by almost an average of 64%. 
  • Another 2019 study titled “Effects of whole-body electromyostimulation on chronic nonspecific low back pain in adults” attained similar results. The study was conducted for over 6 months. The study showed an approximately 15% increase in lower back extensor, isometric and abdominal strength compared to a control group who practiced only traditional exercise techniques.

All these studies highlighted the benefit of an EMS Muscle Stimulator for pain relief. 

How To Use Muscle Stimulator Pads?

  • The portable EMS kit generally comes with gels pads or electrodes that establish an attachment with your skin and an impulse generator. 
  • Remove the protecting covering of the gel pad and place it over the target muscles (the area where you’re experiencing pain).
  • Attach the impulse generator to the gel pads using the magnetic buckle or any other attachment feature specified by the manufacturer.  
  • Now use the remote control or the power button to start impulse generation. You can generally adjust the intensity levels and the pattern of vibrations. 
  • Continue the therapy for 15 minutes. If you wish to continue the therapy longer, give a 5 mins break before starting the next cycle. 

It is recommended that you buy back pain pads and an impulse generator kit that’s portable and rechargeable. 

When Can You Use EMS Therapy?

  • Alleviate muscle pain– Low-frequency EMS can be used for providing drug-free pain relief for postural aches, traumatic muscle injury, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sciatica. 
  • Muscle-strengthening-Through high-intensity muscle contraction, especially for weakened muscles due to bad posture, stroke, or surgery. 
  • Muscle conditioning– for high-performing athletes

However, EMS is strictly contraindicated in:

  • Individuals having implanted electronic devices such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, etc. 
  • Severe cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure, or angina pectoris (chest pain)
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged less than 12 years

What Can You Do To Improve The Outcomes Of Electronic Muscle Stimulation? 

While selecting and purchasing the correct back muscle stimulator online is the key to reducing pain, you can practice various other supportive therapies, including:

  • Strengthening exercises using free weights, resistance bands, training machines and body weight
  • Improving your range of motion
  • Stretching and flexibility exercises
  • Balanced diet
  • Ice or heat treatments

If you have a medical condition, ensure to consult your general physician, orthopedic professional, or physiotherapist before starting any new exercise or venturing into a new diet.