Could a TENS or EMS machine have saved Game 1 for The Miami Heat?


When the buzzer went on game one of the 2014 game finals, The Spurs left the court with a great win over a formidable Heat team. Tim Duncan put out a performance for the ages and the rest of the team displayed an excellent level of basketball. However, that win comes with a “what if” attached to it. For the late part of the fourth quarter. LeBron James, arguably the best player of his generation, was sidelined due to muscle cramps on his right leg. James had to watch from the bench how the Spurs took the lead and eventually win the game. James’ face through out the remainder of the game was a mixture of frustration and pain. Could this have been prevented? Could this have been dealt with better and therefore allowing LeBron to return to the game? Truthfully, the answer is yes… and no.

We can only speculate the outcome of the game should LeBron be able to finish the game, but his cramp could have been dealt a whole lot better that what was shown on the broadcast of the game. When being struck with cramps, or muscle strain, there is a sharp pain that shoots and could be so intense it can be debilitating completely. Despite what is being said on twitter and other social media outlets, the amount of pain that LeBron probably felt could potentially be more than we might suspect. Granted, the word “cramp”doesn’t do the actual pain any justice on how bad it actually feels, but as hall of famer and NBA analyst Isiah Thomas said: “Cramps is not something that any player could be able to play through”.


First we must understand that what causes a muscular cramp is insufficient stretching, and low mineral levels (commonly associated with dehydration). Let’s keep in mind that we are talking about LeBron here, one of if not THE most important and talented player in the NBA today. A world-class athlete playing at a world class level, and also known for hard work and dedication. If it happened to him, well it can happen to any mortal human being.

When the injury first happened LeBron was taken out of the game it was in the late stages of the fourth quarter. The last minutes of play, in perhaps one of the most intense games of the season. When the game got close, like any star player, James tried to go on and play through the injury, that was ultimately a huge mistake. On a play, he drove to the rim, got a layup, and put his team just two points behind with four minutes left. But the pain was too much for the “King”. James had to be carried out off the court to the bench. The Spurs then capitalized.

How can Electrotherapy help a muscle cramp? A quick session of fast TENS programs can alleviate the pain almost immediately. But, hypothetically speaking, should James had went through it when he was first taken out of the game, he could perhaps played a bit longer but with the possibility that the cramp to return. So in this very particular scenario, a fast TENS program could have worked but it all depends on how much strain would the muscles be. Another option when facing muscle cramps would be to submit LeBron to a more slower session of TENS, slowly but surely would make the pain go away. Very likely, again in this scenario, would the therapy work, but when the pain was all gone the game might have been over already. But again it is just speculations. Because Cramps can come and go with the same mysterious way. Because even some painful cramps can be treated with gentle and gradual stretching, with some massage, hasting the recovery, now with more intense and thorough acting treatment like Electrotherapy cramps can be treated quicker.

TENS and EMS, works ideally for muscle cramps. Maybe there might not have been much that could be done for LeBron, but just to play it safe the Miami Heat medical staff should have a TENS Unit back at the locker room, because if James or any other player of the Heat experiences a cramp they can be taken back and have ready to go back at the court.