Therapists occasionally need to move lymphedema out of an area and electrotherapy can be a very effective way of doing that. In this article we discuss two methods for moving lymphedema with electrotherapy and recommend several electrotherapy units that are loaded with the correct waveforms to do just that.
Method 1: Muscle Pump
One method for removing lymphedema with electrotherapy is a Muscle Pump protocol where we are using the machine to create a squeezing effect to move swelling out... much like a therapist would use her/his hands to "milk lactic acids" out of an extremity.
In this method we’d use a Symmetrical Biphasic waveform to contract the muscles below the edema and force the swelling out. We’d use a two channel unit and create a custom protocol with 0 off time and at least 20 minute run time. We’d run that a low HZ so your patient is feeling enough intensity to get a tapping sensation – but NOT a full blown contraction.
Method 2: Ion Repelling
The second, and arguably the more effective protocol would be to use an electrotherapy unit with Hi Volt wave form to repel negatively charged ions and push lymphedema out of the tissue.
With this method we’d use a Hi Volt waveform to repel ions in the blood to force swelling to move just like you would with two negatively charged magnets. This method uses a monophasic current (Hi-volt) with negative polarity to match the polarity in blood. You’d place the Red (negative) electrode where the swelling is and the black (positive) electrode in the direction you want the swelling to go.
So from least expensive to most expensive here are your options from Chatttanooga:
- Chattanooga Continuum – would have NMES for muscle pump and Symmetrical Biphasic for muscle reeducation.
- Chattanooga Intelect XT (2 channel estim only) - would have both NMES for muscle pump and Hi-Volt for Ion repelling and Russian or Symmetrical Biphasic for muscle reeducation.
- Chattanooga Vectra Genisys (2 channel estim only) – would have both NMES for muscle pump and Hi-Volt for Ion repelling and VMS (Variable Muscle Stimulation), Symmetrical Biphasic or Russian for muscle reeducation.
- Chattanooga Neo (2 channel estim only) – would have both NMES for muscle pump and Hi-volt for ion repelling and VMS (Variable Muscle Stimulation), Symmetrical Biphasic or Russian for muscle reeducation.
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