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The number of waves or pulses per second.. usually measured in Hz..turned up to pt. tolerance or until you get desired response(sensory or motor)

Alternating Current

Continuous and bidirectional flow of charged particles (+ and -) net charge

Interpulse Interval

Time between pulses in a pulsed current


The negatively charged electrode


The magnitude of the current or voltage, the distance from the zero line to the peak or trough

Frequency Modulation

Usually referred to a sweep


The positively charged electrode

Pulse Duration

The time from the beginning of the first phase to the end of the last phase of one pulse, the width of the pulse

Pulsed Current

Electrical current delivered discontinuously with on times and off times


Opposition to the current flow, tissue that resist flow; adipose, bone, tendons, fascia

Direct Current

Used for inotophoresis, stimulating denervated muscles to contract, wound care

Interferential Current

what is a waveform produced by the interference of two medium frequency sinusoidal AC's

Duty Cycle

Ratio of on time to total cycle time; On 10 sec, off 50 sec = 10/60 x 100= 16% or 1:6 duty cycle. The higher the duty cycle the more fatiguing

Ramp up or rise time

Time it takes current to go from zero to maximum amplitude

Amplitude Modulation

what is usually referred to as scan

Ohm's Law

what is the relationship between voltage (V), electrical current (I) and resistance (R)

Electrical Current

Measured in Amperes (A) and has an abreviation of (I)

Electrical Current

Flow or movement of charged particles through a conductor following an applied electrical field


what is electrical force driving charged particles through a conductor between two regions or points


what is the property of the conductor that resists the flow of charged particles


what is measured in Ohms and is abreviated (R)


what is a more accurate descriptor of the relationship between voltage and current than resistance

Ohm's Law

what is (V= I x R)

Direct Current

what does DC stand for

Direct Current

what is continuous and unidirectional flow of charged particles (either + or -)

Alternating Current

what does AC stand for


what is another name for pulse rate

Pulse Duration/Phase Duration

what is another name for Width

Comfort of stimulation

small pulse width

Intrapulse or Interphase interval

what is the time between phases of a single pulse

Decay Time or ramp down

Time it takes from peak amplitude to decrease to zero during a phase

Ramp up/Ramp down

what allows the patient to acclimate to the stimulation

Symmetrical biphasic pulsed

what type of estim is most comfortable for patients and provides the most torque for muscle strengthening


what type of estim is used for tissue healing or acute edem

Burst Mode

what is a series of pulses delivered in an "envelope" as singe pulse also called a pulse train

Resting potential

The homeostasis that exists between eithor side of the cell membrane. Inside of the cell is -, outside is +, -70mV


when the inside of the cell membrane becomes less negative than the outside


when the inside of the cell membrane returns to more negative state & resting potential is restored

opening of Na channels pulls Na in to the cell by the negative charge inside and because of the larger concentration of Na outside the cell

what happens during the Depolarization of an action potential

Channels close and K channels open; K is pushed out of the cell because of the large concentration of K inside of the cell and the positive charge inside the cell

what happens during the Repolarization of an action potential

Absolute refractory period

when the membrane is depolarized, and it is not possible to create another Action potential

Nerve diameter and myelination

what does propagation speed depend on

Strength-Duration Curve

what is the minimum amount of electrical current required to depolarize the nerve and produce and Action potential in a specific type of nerve

Sensory nerves

Nerve with a large diameter that takes a lower current amplitude and shorter pulse width to depolarize

Motor nerves

Nerves with a medium diameter that takes a medium current amplitude and medium pulse width to depolarize

Pain-transmitting C fibers

Nerves with a small diameter that takes a high current amplitude and large pulse width to depolarize


decreased response to same amplitude of nerve stimulation over time

Muscle cell membrane

denervated muscles contract via depolarization of what


What is directly related to current flow


What is measured in volts and abreviated (V)


What is indirectly related to current resistance

Controlling acute and chronic pain

Indication for estim

Edema reduction

Indication for estim

Muscle spasm reduction

Indication for estim

Reduction of joint contractures

Indication for estim

Minimize atrophy

Indication for estim

Facilitate tissue healing

Indication for estim

Strengthen muscle

Indication for estim

Facilitate fracture healing

Indication for estim


contraindication for estim


contraindication for estim

Acute infection

contraindication for estim

Exposed metal

contraindication for estim

Carotid sinus

contraindication for estim

Pregnancy/1st trimester/over abdomen

contraindication for estim


contraindication for estim

Active TB

contraindication for estim

active bleeding

contraindication for estim

recent fracture or surgical site

precaution for estim

decreased sensation

precaution for estim

impaired cognition

precaution for estim

pregnancy/during labor

precaution for estim

heart conditions

precaution for estim


precaution for estim

eczema, psoriasis, acne dermatitis

precaution for estim

epilepsy or other neruoloical deficit/ in cervical area

precaution for estim


Electrical muscle stimulation; stimulation of denervated muscle to maintain viability via HVPC


Electrical stimulation for tissue repair;edema reduction, increase in circulation, wound and fracture healing via HVPC


Neuromuscular estim for stimulation of innervated muscles


Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for pain control


Interferential; pain control delivered at a deeper level than TENS


Functional electrical stimulation delivered for a specific functional purpose

Positive electrode/Red

Causes proteins to coagulate and hardens tissue due to an increase in acidity below the electrode

Negative electrodes/Black

Causes proteins to liquify and softens tissues due to an increase in alkalinity below the electrode

All or non principle

single neurons or single motor units respond completely or not at all to an electrical stimulus


allows current flow to pass through easily; nerves, muscle, blood


a physical state in a muscle when action potentials from nerves arrive at the skeletal muscle motor end plate rapidly enough to cause a steady contraction

Motor point

area on the surface of the skin that is hypersensitive to flow. A place above where blood vessels and nerve bundles enter the muscle

CNS contraction

small muscle fibers fire first

Estim contraction

large muscle fibers fire first

CNS contraction

Asynchronous firing of motor units

CNS contraction

Action potential moves away from the cell body

Estim contraction

Is more fatiguing than a CNS contraction

Estim contraction

Synchronous firing of motor units

Estim contraction

Action potential moves in all directions from the site of depolorization

Estim contraction

Is less comfortable than CNS contraction

balanced asymmetrical

shape of the positive phase and the negative phase of a single biphasic pulse are different but the amount of current delivered by each is the same, no net effect

unbalanced asymmetrical

shape of the positive phase and the negative phase of a single biphasic pulse are different and the amount of current delivered by each is not the same, there can be a net effect

Law of DuBois Reymond

The amplitude, rise time, and pulse width of a stimulus must be adequate to depolarize a membrane and cause a contraction

Can increase total current

increase in amplitude

Can increase total current

Increase in frequency

Can increase total current

increase in pulse width

The larger the electrode

the smaller the current density per square inch

edge effect

when two electrodes are touching amplitude along the borders can spike

decrease conductivity/impedance

warm tissues, long pathway, small electrodes, oil, hair, dry skin, adipose, bone, ligaments, tendons

increase conductivity/capacitance

cold tissues, short pathway, large electrodes, clean skin, moist skin, motor points

Large electrodes

density is shallow, less selectivity, stronger contraction, more comfortable, greater current spread

small electrodes

density is deeper, less current spread, better selectivity, weaker contraction , less comfort


1 channel, one small electrode is at the treatment site, with a larger dispersive pad placed proximally; ionto, woundcare


1 channel, 2 electrodes are placed at the treatment site; NMES


2 channels, 4 electrodes at treatment site that are criss crossed; IF, TENS

dual bi-polar

2 channels, 4 electrodes; usually put on agonist/antagonist for NMES

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