Bespoke Physical Therapy Using Compex Muscle Stim
This article was written by Daniel Girodano, a physical therapist at Bespoke in New York. Their therapists have the highest levels of expertise through first class education and elite experience. It is their passion that drives them to design the very best and customized treatment programs to optimize your recovery and performance.
“COMPEX is a muscle stimulation AKA neuromuscular electrical stimulation, NMES, unit that works by sending electronic pulses to your motor nerves in order to create muscle contractions. It can be used to improve blood circulation, reduce muscle spasms, decrease pain, decrease edema or swelling, and improve strength by initiating muscle fiber recruitment.
There are many ways that you can use muscle stimulation. During the course of my day, I will use muscle stim on patients during their warm-up, strength, and/or their recovery portion of their treatment.
As a warm-up I will use the Compex PreWarmup setting (7 Hz) in order to help warm up the muscle you are targeting by improving blood circulation, bringing blood and oxygen to the muscle, in order to prep the muscle. For example, if my patient is feeling very tight in his or her calves prior to activity, I will use the Compex pre-warm up on his or her calf muscles as we move through a dynamic warm-up. Using muscle stim in combination with your warm-up will make sure you are ready for sport.
Have you ever had trouble understanding where you be feeling the exercise or having trouble ‘activating’ a muscle? Have you just wanted extra recruitment in the quads during squats? These are all perfect times to use the Compex Resistance Setting. During the workout, I use the Compex Resistance Setting (around 70 Hz with rest intervals) on a specific muscle group in order to recruit more muscle fibers. This will help you understand the contraction better by using the muscle stim to help feel the muscle contract or to help improve strength by making the training more effective and efficient.
Using muscle stim for recovery is probably the most common way of using muscle stim, but why? I tend to use the Compex Active Recovery (9 to 1 Hz intervals) or the Compex Pre Warmup setting in order to improve circulation and bring fresh blood and oxygen to the targeted muscles. By improving circulation, you are facilitating toxin removal and speeding up your recovery
If you have any questions about NMES contact your local physical therapist before application. Avoid placement of electrodes across the chest, anywhere above the neck, or near your genitals — also avoid open wounds, rashes, or infected, red, or inflamed areas More often than not, I personally see people using it completely wrong on their own. Educate yourself prior to using the machine, everyone is different and not everyone can handle the same amount of stim.”
Dan Giordano, PT, DPT, CSCS