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.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors and staff have helped thousands of people recover from traumatic spinal cord injuries and nontraumatic spinal disorders using many therapies. Licensed and experienced therapists with knowledge and training in functional electrical stimulation work with you and provide daily interventions, including making timely and appropriate changes in your program as needed to best meet your needs and help you reach your goals. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) has accredited the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
  • Integrated team. Mayo Clinic's spinal cord injury rehabilitation team meets frequently to coordinate your care, education, training and guidance after your spinal cord injury. Your integrated team may include doctors, surgeons, mental health professionals, nurses, physical therapists, occupational and recreational therapists, and other specialists.
  • Individualized care. Your team will create an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs. Therapists will work with you to determine if functional electrical stimulation may help meet your needs. The team considers you and your family to be an integral part of the treatment team, and you'll be informed and involved in making decisions and setting treatment goals.
  • Treatment and follow-up care. Mayo Clinic doctors and staff trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation offer a full range of spinal cord injury rehabilitation services. Your spinal cord injury rehabilitation team provides inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation and lifelong care. Pediatric specialists trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation care for children with spinal cord injuries at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
  • Advanced technology. Mayo Clinic doctors and staff use advanced technology in diagnostic tests and treatment interventions for people with spinal cord injuries, including robot-assisted treadmill training, functional electrical stimulation and other therapies.
  • Research. Mayo Clinic researchers study outcomes, rehabilitation options and potential treatments for people with spinal cord injuries and conduct clinical trials.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

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Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation and other staff care for people with spinal cord injuries who may benefit from functional electrical stimulation in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

You'll need a physician's referral to be considered for admission to the inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program or for an appointment in the outpatient program.

For information regarding admission to the inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program, call the admissions coordinator at 507-266-6442 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday. For information regarding outpatient appointments, please call 507-284-5000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday.

Pediatric specialists trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation care for children with spinal cord injuries who require rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Children needing inpatient treatment receive care at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Your child will need a physician's referral to be considered for admission into the inpatient program or for an appointment in the outpatient program.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic researchers study functional electrical stimulation and other therapies for people with spinal cord injuries. Researchers also study outcomes, new treatment options and other areas related to spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Read more about spinal cord injury research.

Mayo Clinic researchers conduct many studies related to spinal cord injury, including nerve regeneration in the spinal cord system and diaphragmatic pacing system, among others.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on spinal cord injury rehabilitation on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Mar. 14, 2012