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Comprehensive electrostimulation in herniated disc rehabilitation

In its typical form, a herniated lumbar disc will cause radicular compression syndrome with specific characteristics based on the location of the affected zone. Also, the nature and intensity of symptoms will depend on the degree of the compression. Depending on it, the nociceptive nerve fibers (pain) will be affected first and progressively the sensitive ones.

The origin of lower back pain

Lumbar pain is caused by the irritation of the sinuvertebral nerve or Luschka’s nerve, a recurrent branch of the posterior primary division of the sensitive nerves and, after following a recurrent path through the intervertebral foramen, it will descend epidurally through the anterior part of the canal. If the hernia is in the middle, it usually causes lower back pain (LBP). If it is of lateral location, sciatalgia predominates. Finally, if there is an important compression, there will be motor involvement.

What to do when having these types of pathologies

Physical exercise is of great importance in this type of pathology. The objective is the development of the musculature involved in the functioning of the spine both retro-vertebral and prevertebral with the aim of improving the stability of the spine. Prolonged rest worsens back pain by causing vertebral musculature atrophy. We must start with a growing progression in aerobic exercises. It is advisable to start with it from the second week after feeling the symptoms. It is not indicated in patients going through an acute pain crisis.

The specialized literature says that muscle neurostimulation treatment is intended to generate muscle contractions controlled by electrical impulses. Integral electrostimulation is the use of excitomotor currents generated by a device, which is connected by Wi-Fi or cable to a vest or body to which a series of electrodes have been incorporated. These will be able to cause the activation and contraction of the muscles in different regions of the body and / or muscle groups simultaneously. Specifically, i-motion is within the highest range models and technology of biojackets with this type of electrodes and software, which the therapist can manipulate according to the type of frequency and other parameters, always considering each case and the patient’s clinical record. Specific rehabilitation exercises for motor reeducation of the musculature that is associated with the lumbar area are incorporated into the use of biojackets.

It is known that the human body serves as a conductor of electricity and that while there is a passage of it, there are physiological changes. The current tends to create an electric field in the tissues. It is a fact that participates in cellular metabolism, in the process of tissue recovery, it manages to produce some neuromuscular stimulation, or stimulation directly in the muscle.

Neuromuscular electrostimulation

The literature specialized in physical medicine and rehabilitation states that neuromuscular electrostimulation consists of the electrical stimulation of the muscle through the motor nerve fibers that inert it. Electrostimulation produces action potentials on the nerve and muscle, like those generated by the nervous system. The visible or palpable effect of electrical stimulation is muscle contraction. The innervated muscle responds with a contraction to the electrical stimulus that reaches the neuromuscular plaque through the corresponding nerve.

This treatment is used as a complement to muscle strengthening programs to prevent joint stiffness and to facilitate the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, which prevent maximum effort during voluntary contraction.

It is effective for increasing muscle strength and increasing local circulation in the contracted muscle. Muscle contraction induced by neuromuscular electrostimulation increases the recruitment of motor units. If all motor units are recruited, the muscle can contract to the maximum capacity, and with repeated sessions it can increase its tension development capacity.

Conclusion on neuromuscular electrostimulation

The utility of neuromuscular electrostimulation is to increase muscle strength compared to muscle groups that do not exercise, for example, in muscles such as quadriceps, neuromuscular electrostimulation can induce contractions of 80% to 100% of the maximal isometric voluntary voltage.

Electrostimulation alone, or in combination with isometric exercise, is useful for preventing or reducing muscle atrophy during periods of joint immobilization, or for patients undergoing joint surgery. Electrical stimulation can decrease pain, inflammation, and influence on immobilization atrophy. It is also used to prevent joint stiffness because of an insufficiency of muscle action and to increase the degree of joint mobility in cases of stiffness or contracture. Therefore, the professional electric muscle stimulator of helps in the process of rehabilitation of herniated disc, always with the help of qualified personnel.


  1. Robaina Padrón FJ. Sindrome postlaminectomía lumbar: tratamiento del dolor mediante técnicas de neuromodulación. Neurocirugía 2008. Vol 19, no 1, pp 35-44
  2. Van Middelkoop M, Rubinstein SM, Kuijpers T, Verhagen AP, Ostelo R, Koes BW, et al. A systematic review on the effectiveness of physical and rehabilitation interventions for chronic non-specific low back pain. Eur Spine J. 2011;20(1):19-39.
  3. Guevara-López U, Cobarrubias-Gómez A, Elías-Dib J, Reyes-Sánchez A, Rodríguez- Reyna TS. Parámetros de práctica para el manejo del dolor de espalda baja. Cir Cir. 2011;79:286-302.
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