Electrical currents have been in use in wound healing and pain management from decades. Different types of currents have different therapeutic effects. Depending on the type of pain, duration of pain and cause of pain one of the following currents are used in clinical practice:
- Faradic currents
- Interrupted direct currents
- Direct Galvanic currents
- High frequency currents
- Interferential currents
The size of electrodes and its placement, frequency and wave form variations of the currents modify the effect of therapy.
Electrical stimulation of nerves and muscles is done in cases of weakness and paralysis.
Electrical currents are also used to drive in drugs or other active chemicals through the skin. This procedure is called iontophoresis; which is fast acting and works locally, thereby produces no systemic side-effects. Iontophoresis is used for local pain and swelling, wound healing, cleaning the infected wounds, break soft tissue adhesions in muscles and fascia. It also has applications in skin conditions like eczema and acne. Commonly used ions for iontophoresis are iodine, chloride, xylocaine, diclofenac, hyluronidase, distilled water, zinc, manganese.