H-Wave and Compex
H-Wave Electrical Stimulation
The H-Wave is an electrical stimulation device designed to target both the motor and sensory neurons. This system provides both high and low frequency settings, allowing us to achieve a wide variety of outcomes such as pain control, decrease inflammation, decrease muscle spasms or guarding, improve blood flow and ultimately speed healing.
The low frequency setting targets the motor neurons in a non-fatiguing manner and provides the unique qualities of H-Wave over other electrical stimulation devices. Electrodes are placed on the target area and the electrical impulse is gradually increased until a motor response is seen, in that the muscle will actually start to twitch or appear to jump. These rhythmic contractions create a pumping effect, which helps loosen tight muscles or spasms, pumps out inflammation and metabolites, decreases pain, increases mobility and ultimately improves function. A typical treatment is between 10-30 minutes.
The high frequency setting targets primarily the sensory nervous system to decrease pain by providing an intense buzzing sensation. This sensation travels along a faster pathway to the brain than pain does, which allows it to override the pain signal in the brain! In fact, the H-wave has such a powerful analgesic effect that, according to their website, it is FDA approved for electrical anastesia in the field of dentistry. This pain reduction effect lasts even after your treatment has terminated, thereby providing patients a drug-free option for lasting pain relief.
Compex Electrical Stimulation Unit
The Compex is a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) device used for decreasing pain and inflammation, increasing muscle strength and size, improving lymphatic and venous return, and maintenance of both muscle strength and mass during periods of joint immobilization. This device yields a variety of motor responses in the target muscle based on the settings. It can contract the muscle in a pulsed rhythmic fashion to promote recovery by improving circulation and decreasing, swelling, soreness and pain; or it can bring the muscle to tetany, creating a strong muscle contraction by recruiting a greater number of motor units than possible organically.
Electrical stimulation above motor threshold is especially useful for contracting Type II fast-twitch muscle fibers (those used for high strength, speed and power) under submaximal loads. This allows the patient to activate a higher percentage of muscle fibers while protecting joints and healing tissues that require strengthening under lower loads.
The Compex is also an excellent recovery tool for muscles with higher levels of blood lactate. During high-intensity exercise, accumulation of blood lactate and the associated fall in pH are considered to contribute to the development of muscular fatigue and soreness. A 2011 study that examined recovery time in baseball pitchers demonstrated muscle stimulation with the Compex produced a significant reduction in blood lactate levels compared to other recovery methods which had no significant effect on blood lactate. As anticipated, subsequent pitching speeds were higher amongst individuals who underwent recovery with the Compex.
In addition to the traditional wired Compex unit, we also have the new wireless unit which provides freedom for the patient to exercise around the gym while extremities can move seamlessly through full range. The wireless unit is excellent for providing the patient biofeedback throughout corrective exercise, as well as recruitment of increased motor units beyond what voluntary muscle contraction will allow.
Whether you are strengthening a muscle post-operatively, as a means of rehabilitation, correcting muscle imbalances or simply looking to optimally recover from intense training to continue to perform at your best, the Compex can help!