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Interferential Therapy Lesley McLoughlin Session content


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  • my husband had a whole knee replacement and was almost healed and then was given an inferential therapy treatment and was burned very badly and had to go to hospital for 4 days. Has anything like this happened to anyone else out there?
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Interferential Therapy Lesley McLoughlin Session content

  1. 1. Interferential Therapy Lesley McLoughlin
  2. 2. Session content  Introduction  Definition  Physical characteristics  Therapeutic uses  Treatment regimes  Practical application  Contra-indications  Dangers
  3. 3. Introduction  Widely used electrotherapy modality  Used since the 1950s to utilise the therapeutic aspects of low frequency currents without the discomfort
  4. 4. Definition  Two medium frequency currents of slightly differing frequency are applied to the body in such a manner to produce;  an amplitude modulated medium frequency current within the body.  Amplitude modulation provides a beat frequency that is within the biological frequency range
  5. 5. Therapeutic Uses Relief of pain – pain gate theory  80-140Hz (higher IFT frequencies)  Stimulates Aβ fibres  To inhibit impulse transmission in A∂ and C fibres  Used for both acute and chronic pain  Temporary pain relief
  6. 6. Therapeutic Uses Relief of pain – Ascending pain suppression, 2-30Hz (lower frequencies)  Stimulates A∂ fibres:  To inhibit C fibre transmission  Via the release of encephalins and endorphins  More longer lasting pain relief  Only effective on chronic pain
  7. 7. Therapeutic Uses Reduction of oedema 0-100 Hz  Stimulates autonomic nerves to produce vasodilatation  Increases circulation
  8. 8. Therapeutic Uses Motor stimulation  0-25 Hz - twitch  25-100 Hz - muscle contraction  Can be used to treat incontinence or muscle weakness secondary to trauma/surgery (in conjunction with active exercise).
  9. 9. Suggested treatment regimes Pain 80-140 Hz 15 minutes 4 Hz constant 15 minutes Circulation 0-100Hz 20-30 minutes
  10. 10. Suggested treatment regimes Muscle stimulation 10-50 Hz 15 minutes 50Hz constant with surge Incontinence Stress incontinence - 10-50Hz, surge 15 minutes. Urge incontinence - 5-10Hz 10 minutes
  11. 11. Practical application  Machine check - plugs, cable, electrodes etc.  Test machine  Position patient comfortably  Explain nature of the treatment, what they will feel and the benefits  Prepare and wash the skin  Inspect skin for any lesions - cover with petroleum jelly
  12. 12. Practical application Interferential with suction electrodes Interferential with malleable electrodes
  13. 13. Preparation of the skin  Skin has a high electrical resistance as the outer surface is dry and contains few conducting ions  Skin is normally washed to remove excess oils and to moisten it  Any lesions can cause a concentration of current which will result in pain  Small lesions can be insulated with petroleum jelly
  14. 14. Practical application.  Position electrodes - must be moistened  The four electrodes are arranged in two circuits - apply to the patient at right angles to each other  If using two electrodes only, use the yellow (variable) circuit  Electrodes are attached by suction or bandages/ elastic straps
  15. 15. Suction electrode application Suction machine Suction electrodes with moistened sponges
  16. 16. Malleable electrode application Interferential machine set up with malleable electrodes Malleable electrodes in moistened sponge pockets
  17. 17. Electrode placement Electrodes placed so that the two circuits produce an interference current and the patient experiences the tingling sensation on and around the site of their problem Left knee
  18. 18. Practical application.  Give the patient a warning - will feel a tingling sensation which should not be uncomfortable or burn  Select the frequency required  Increase the intensity - may need to adjust due to accommodation  Turn the machine off after treatment completed
  19. 19. Select treatment parameters •Power on •Time •Base & peak frequency •Swing pattern •Output
  20. 20. Termination of treatment  Remove electrodes  Inspect the skin
  21. 21. Contra-indications  Acute sepsis - ↑ risk of spread of infection  Tumours - ↑ risk of increased growth of activity  Pregnancy – no treatment over uterus or its’ nerve supply  Cardiac disease – no treatment over the heart, cervical ganglia or vagus nerve
  22. 22. Contra-indications  Cardiac pacemakers  Febrile conditions  Large open wounds  Menstruation - ↑ risk of bleeding or pain if treating abdominal of lumbar region  Dermatological conditions  Thrombophlebitis – risk of embolus being dislodged
  23. 23. Contra-indications  Severe ↑ or ↓ BP – avoid lower cervical region – BP control via cervical ganglia  Acute inflammation, oedema, haemorrhage or haematoma when using suction cups  Hypersensitivity or fear of electrical treatment  Patients who are unable to understand the treatment or what is required of them
  24. 24. Possible dangers  Burns – high intensity currents can cause sufficient heating to cause a burn. The patient should be given warnings which include the word BURN  Mains current shock – faulty equipment  Electric shock – abrupt application of high intensity current – turn current up/ down slowly
  25. 25. References  Low J. and Reed A. (1992) Electrotherapy Explained: Principles and Practice. Oxford  Watson T. (2000) The role of electrotherapy in contemporary physiotherapy practice. Manual Therapy Aug:5(3);132-41