The use of electricity to stimulate nerves or muscles is nothing new. In the 18th century Galvani recognized that electricity could be converted into "nerve force". Numerous applications of electrical stimulation have been explored, most notably cardiac pacing, cochlear implants or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units for pain control. Spinal cord injury (SCI), with its "transecting lesion" that leaves intact nervous system below the injury completely disconnected from the centers that exert motor control provides the ideal opportunity for electrical stimulation use. Multiple applications are being investigated, including those for aerobic conditioning/cardiovascular exercise, cough and breathing assistance, improving bowel and bladder control, erection and ejaculation, hand grasp, spasticity management, neuro-muscular reeducation, standing and walking, etc. This review will focus on innovative and technologically advanced applications of electrical stimulation in the management of patients with spinal cord injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology