Interferential therapy can be used as the treatment of choice for recent injuries and should be initiated at the earliest possible time to produce rapid results.
Interferential therapy is an accepted therapy modality whereby low-frequency electrical signals – below 250 hertz (1 Hz = 1 cycle per second) is used across the tissue to illicit a Therapeutic effect. The patient may feel a ‘tingling’ effect as this is applied.
Some of the benefits a patient can experience following an interferential therapy treatment are:
Increased blood flow
Reduction of oedema (swelling)
Promotion of healing
Restoration of healing
Why is interferential therapy used?
Pain relief is gained by disturbing the pain signal through the pain gate mechanism (Melzack and Wall Pain Gate Theory) and thereby mask the pain symptoms. By employing alternative settings for more chronic conditions, interferential can be used to activate the body’s natural opioid mechanisms, again providing a degree of pain relief.
Stimulation of motor nerves can be achieved with a wide range of frequencies with interferential, for example, at 1Hz; the result is a series of twitches, and at 50Hz the result is a tetanic contraction.
How often is interferential therapy used?
Treatment times can vary according to the stage of injury and the physiological effect required. Usually, at the initial stages in the acute phase, treatments of 5–10 minutes may be sufficient. In other circumstances for more chronic conditions, treatment times of 20–30 minutes may be necessary.
A course of about 12 treatments should be sufficient to resolve a condition. In chronic long-standing conditions, more treatments may be required.