Why electrotherapy (Ultrasound or TENS machines) is a waste of time!
Updated: Mar 21
Have you been to a physiotherapist where 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 stuck some pads onto you that 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 physiotherapists use these machines on patients is in Knee Osteoarthritis (OA). 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 hands-on manual therapy instead!
Here at Trilogy Physiotherapy our physiotherapists are trained in the latest evidence-based hands-on treatment techniques and exercise prescription. They will always spend the entire session in the room with you giving you the one-on-one attention to deserve. Rather than just treating symptoms, they will get to the root cause of the issue. Once they determine what caused the symptoms in the first place they can accurately treat them to make sure they're less likely to return in the future.