Electrode Types and Maintenance
Electrodes channel the electrical current that TENS and EMS devices produce, in order to focus it on a specific body part, whether it is a joint, a muscle, or a group of muscles. There are several different types of electrodes, such as Square Cloth Electrodes, Premium Gel Electrodes, and Butterfly Foam Electrodes. These accessories are included in the pain management unit´s package, and though they are quite durable and meant to be re-usable, they can also be purchased separately, in case the customer needs a replacement.
What we refer to as an electrode is simply the patch that is affixed to the user’s skin. Actually, it’s much more than that; it’s a conductive item that distributes current in the affected area of the body to be treated with electrotherapy. However, they need to be connected to their corresponding device by way of lead wires. These wires are connected to the unit and then each to an electrode. Once both lead wires and electrodes are properly connected, the patient must prepare the treatment site for electrode placement. This is accomplished by cleaning and drying the skin with soap and water, and then firmly attaching the electrodes to that particular body part.
In addition to cleaning the skin, users must be careful not to place the electrodes on irritated or broken skin, or over open wounds. Irritation of the skin may seldom be provoked by prolonged use of electrodes. The electrodes may be accompanied by a gel that’s meant to improve conductivity. Some patients may be allergic to the gel in rare occasions. If two or more therapy sessions shortly follow one another, the electrodes may be left in place. When the time does come to remove them, lift at the edge and peel; don’t pull on the wires since that can damages both the electrodes and the wires. Electrodes must be stored in their own bag, which must then be resealed and kept in a cool, dry place.
There is such a variety of electrodes available because the right type is needed for a given treatment site and stimulation type. Moreover, a sufficient quantity of electrodes is important because that allows the user to rotate them. An electrode that’s been used too often may become oversaturated with moisture resulting from perspiration, humid environments, and excessive addition of water to hydrate the gel surface. When an electrode is worn out, and/or has lost its adherence, it should be replaced as soon as possible.