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Why electrotherapy (Ultrasound or TENS machines) is a waste of time!

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Have you been to a physiotherapist and have they applied some gel to your skin and used a machine to help get your pain away? Or have you been to a physiotherapist where they have stuck some pads onto you and sent electrical signals to the site and then left the room for 10-15 minutes? Yes, you may have felt better very temporarily, however it is not giving you the long term effects that you need! Most people come to us and report that they felt no change at all.


In our opinion, this is being a lazy physiotherapist and it's the therapist not keeping up to date with evidence based research. Yes, there is some evidence to show that using a TENS machine can give some relief for chronic lower back pain, but there are many other treatments that are far superior to the machine that can give you better relief.

One of many examples where therapist use these machines on patients is in Knee Osteoarthritis. A systematic review study by Bjordal, Jan Magnus, et al 2018, showed that exercises improved quality of life, pain and movement in individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis. They found that there is a lack of evidence to show the benefits of using these machines to help OA.


There are only very few cases where a machine should be used on you. Next time you see a physiotherapist don't settle for an average treatment, ask them for some education, exercises and manual therapy instead!




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