Electrotherapy Treatment in Stockport and Manchester

Electrotherapy is the use of electrical equipment as a medical treatment. It can apply to a variety of treatments, including ultrasound, interferential therapy, TENS and electrical stimulation.

Physiotherapists use electrotherapy for different reasons. It is used to reduce pain, muscle spasm, to promote healing and to activate muscles.

We can usually offer an appointment within 24 working hours.


Call Gatley on 0161 491 1999 or the Heatons on 0161 432 3232

When do physiotherapists use electrotherapy?

Electrotherapy would not be used in isolation. It would be part of your treatment, usually in combination with ‘hands on’ treatment. Often, by using electrotherapy treatment to provide pain relief, the physiotherapist can then address problems such as joint stiffness, poor muscle control and improve your movement with manual therapy and rehabilitation.

The decision to use electrotherapy would be dependent on your presentation, and whether your physiotherapist feels it would benefit your recovery.

Examples of when electrotherapy would be used include:

  • Ultrasound may be used in the early recovery stages following a ligament sprain in the ankle or knee, or muscle tears such as hamstring or calf injuries. This reduces pain and promotes healing of the damaged tissue.
  • Interferential may be appropriate in severely painful joints such as osteoarthritic knees, to assist with pain relief to enable restoration of movement of the joint.
  • TENS is used mainly for pain relief. It is often used with long standing / chronic back pain.

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What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound has been a part of clinical practice since sometime back in the 1950s and remains a popular and evidenced intervention for a range of clinical problems.

Ultrasound is an electrotherapy that is often used in acute injuries to promote healing and reduce inflammation.

An ultrasound machine creates mechanical sound waves that produce energy, which when they enter the skin cause microvibrations in the cells improving tissue healing and reducing pain. When a tear is healing, collagen fibres are laid down producing a scar which can become very tight which will delay healing. Ultrasound improves the way collagen is laid down which increases the tensile strength of the ligament or muscle. Ultrasound also improves the mobility of the scar so the joint returns to normal movement faster. Both of these mean a quicker return to function.

How long would an ultrasound session take?

A typical ultrasound treatment will take from 3-8 minutes depending on the area being treated. In cases where scar tissue breakdown is the goal, this treatment time can be much longer. During the treatment the head of the ultrasound probe is kept in constant motion. If kept in constant motion, the patient should feel no discomfort at all.

What does ultrasound treat?

Some conditions treated with ultrasound include,

  • ligament sprains,
  • muscle strains and tears,
  • non-acute joint swelling.

Ultrasound is used particularly in sports injuries. It will be included in your treatment along with hands on treatment, such as joint and soft tissue mobilisations. It is likely that You will also be given a specially designed rehabilitation programme of exercise to compliment the treatment.

What are the contraindications for ultrasound?

Ultrasound would not be used: 

  • Hemorrhagic conditions
  • Over the eyes, front of the neck, carotid sinus, and reproductive organs
  • Over any electronic device such as pacemaker or defibrillator
  • In the presence of a deep venous thrombosis (blood clot) or thrombophlebitis (local)
  • Directly over a cancerous area
  • Over the abdomen if pregnant
  • Tuberculosis (local)
  • Recently radiated tissue (local)

What is Interferential Therapy (IFT)?

Interferential therapy is used for pain relief, promoting tissue healing and relieving muscle spasm.

IFT uses an electrical current to the tissues. It applies two different frequencies that interfere with one another to produce a medium frequency current within the tissues.

It is applied by placing electrodes on the skin and a tingling sensation is experienced by the patient.

What is IFT used for?

Interferential therapy can be used for the following conditions/symptoms:

  • Acute and chronic pain, for example, lower back pain and sciatica, osteoarthritis of joints.
  • Muscle spasm.
  • Swelling following ligament sprains and muscle strains.

How long does IFT take? 

Between 10-20 minutes. It would normally be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as ‘hands on’ treatments and instruction on a series of home exercises.

What are the contraindications for IFT?

  • Patients with Pacemakers – some pacemakers are relatively safe to interference from electrical stimulation, especially if used at a distance away from the pacemaker such as the ankle or knee.
  • Patients whose skin may be easily damaged or bruised.

IFT should not be used over:

  • The trunk or pelvis during pregnancy.
  • Active or suspected malignancy except in hospice/palliative/terminal care.
  • The eyes.
  • The anterior aspect/ front of the neck. 
  • The carotid sinuses.
  • Dermatological conditions e.g. dermatitis, broken skin. 
  • Danger of haemorrhage or current tissue bleeding (e.g. recent soft tissue injury).
  • Avoid active epiphyseal regions (growth plates) in children.

Reference for the use of IFT  click here            

What is NMES?

NMES is a type of electrotherapy that stimulates a muscle contraction using electrical impulses to strengthen weak muscles, reduce swelling and relieve pain.

The impulses are generated by a device and delivered through electrodes (pads that adhere to the skin) over the middle of the muscles that require stimulating, which causes the muscles to contract.

What is NMES used for?

NMES is mainly used to strengthen weak muscles. For example, it can be used following knee surgery to stimulate the muscles in the thigh to reduce muscle wastage and increase strength.

The NMES can be hired and used at home with guidance by your physiotherapists, to compliment your home exercise programme.

Reference for electrotherapy click here

What is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulations (TENS)?

Tens is used for pain relief by using of a mild electrical current.

A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes, which are attached directly to your skin. When the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are delivered to the affected area of your body, which you feel as a tingling sensation.

The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. They may also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.

What is TENS used for?

TENS may be able to help reduce pain and muscle spasms caused by a wide range of conditions including:

  • Arthritis,
  • knee pain,
  • neck pain,
  • back pain,
  • sports injuries.

It is recommended that you have a proper assessment first, so you can find out whether a TENS machine is appropriate for you and be taught how to use it properly.

How long does TENS take?

Between 10-20 minutes. It would normally be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as ‘hands on’ treatments and instruction on a series of home exercises. TENS is a treatment used at home to continue with the pain relief gained during physiotherapy treatment.

The treatment is generally very safe and you may feel it’s worth trying instead of, or in addition to, the usual medical treatments.

TENS machines are used as a home treatment and are purchased by the patient. Your physiotherapist can order a TENS machine with the average cost being £30-40.

Call Gatley on 0161 491 1999 or the Heatons on 0161 432 3232

private physiotherapy treatment in Stockport

Self-Funded Physiotherapy

If you are paying for your treatment yourself, you don’t need a Doctor’s referral or pre-authorisation.

We require payment at the end of each session. You can use debit or credit cards, Apple Pay, cash or cheques.

Feel free to just call and book an appointment anytime.

Using Private Health Insurance for Physiotherapy

Our clinic is recognised by most of the major insurance companies, as we are all Chartered Physiotherapists and are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

You will need to check with your insurance company prior to treatment, as some companies require a referral from a Doctor beforehand.

Health insurance customers must first provide a policy number and authorisation code along with any excess details or treatment limitations.

Any excess on your policy is to be paid direct to the Clinic.

Contact a private physiotherapist near you today.

Physiotherapy in Stockport

How To Make an Appointment

We are usually able to offer an appointment time within 24 working hours of your call. 

Please either call the clinic or leave your details in the online enquiry form and we’ll call you back to confirm the arrangements.

Gatley: 0161 491 1999
Heaton Moor: 0161 432 3232

Why Choose Gatley & Heatons Physio?

We provide expert acupuncture treatments from our clinics in Heaton Moor, Gatley and Didsbury and we regularly help patients from across Stockport and Manchester reduce their pain and return to normal activities.

We frequently work with clients in Cheadle, Bramhall, Poynton, Wilmslow, Northenden, Altrincham, Sale, West Didsbury, Withington, Burnage, Heaton Moor, Heaton Chapel, Heaton Norris, Heaton Mersey and Reddish, and we are regularly able to provide home visits for those who are not able to attend one of our clinics.

We have been established in these areas for many years and have a fantastic relationship with most of the Doctors in these areas. If needed, we will liaise with your Doctor about your condition, for example if medication is needed or a referral to another speciality.

We have an excellent reputation of providing high standards of clinical physiotherapy and a professional service through a trusted, personal and friendly approach.

We offer flexible appointment times to all patients including extended working hours and home visits.

Professional and caring treatment received with sound follow up advice. Would recommend to others without hesitation!

Juan Pardo