People who have had a spinal cord injury (SCI) may benefit from functional electrical stimulation (FES), a therapy to improve their functional ability.

In functional electrical stimulation, computer technology sends low-level electrical impulses to specific muscles in your legs, arms, hands or other areas. The electrical stimulation can cause your muscles to contract, which may promote increased muscle bulk or muscle control. Functional electrical stimulation may improve your range of motion, your strength, and the functional use of your hands, arms or legs. FES may help you perform activities such as grasping or holding an item with your hand or moving your arms or legs in a cycle or stepping motion.

Functional electrical stimulation may be used to provide exercise to improve your blood circulation, aerobic conditioning, heart health and overall fitness. FES can also help improve movement patterns of your muscles, prevent bone mineral density loss and reduce muscle spasms.

You usually will use functional electrical stimulation with other therapy techniques, education and exercise programs. Your therapy goals may include improving how you perform your daily activities and creating a wellness program you can use at home.

Mar. 14, 2012