An NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) system produces an electrical stimulus that, when properly applied, activates specific muscles or muscle groups in patients who will not, or cannot, contract muscles voluntarily. The stimulator produces a mild electrical current that is transmitted through the skin to the motor end plates causing nerve depolarization and subsequent activation of muscle fibres.
NMES is useful to
•Re-educate muscle timing. Controlled movement consists of a series of coordinated and timed muscle contractions. In pathology this timing may by inhibited or altered.
•Override the inhibitory effects of nearby joint pain or inflammation on muscle contraction. Sensory and painful input from joints will inhibit the recruitment of as many motor units as are called upon
•Recruit a maximum number of muscle fibres during strengthening exercises. By using NMES in conjunction with active exercise we are able to recruit more muscle fibres than with exercise alone.