People who have had a spinal cord injury may benefit from functional electrical stimulation (FES) as part of their rehabilitation. This therapy uses computer technology to send low-level electrical impulses to specific muscles in your legs, arms, hands or other areas. Electrodes are placed over the nerves, and stimulate the nerves to allow you to do activities such as walking or riding a stationary bike.

The electrical stimulation can cause your muscles to contract, which may promote increased muscle bulk or muscle control. The muscle activity may also help reduce muscle spasms.

Functional electrical stimulation may improve your:

  • Range of motion
  • Muscle size and strength
  • Functional use of the hands, arms or legs
  • Blood circulation and heart health
  • Aerobic conditioning and overall fitness
  • Ability to prevent loss of bone density

Functional electrical stimulation is often used 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.