Electrical stimulation helps stroke, surgery, edema patients

Houston Community Newspapers

In an office where stair steps, balls, wooden bars and hand cycles are the tools of the trade, the physical and occupational therapists at Grace Care Center at Northpointe have another tool that becomes increasingly useful with each new study.

PENS, or patterened electrical neuromuscular stimulation, has been in use by therapists for years, but the list of uses in treatment of patients continues to grow, said Ginny Phillips, a physical therapist.

Wendy Welch-Gillen, an occupational therapist and director of rehabilitation services at Grace Care, said each PENS treatment lasts about 15 minutes.

It can be used to treat patients who have lost use of a limb after a stroke or orthopaedic surgery, those who experience swelling due to poor circulation, patients who experience pain or limited use in a muscle, and those with brain or spinal cord injuries. It can not be used on a patient who has a pacemaker.

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