IFT is often used in physical therapy clinics as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, back pain, and sports injuries. It is a safe and effective therapy that can be combined with other treatment modalities to help patients achieve optimal outcomes. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of interferential therapy, how it works, and the types of conditions it can treat. We will also discuss the different types of IFT machines available and provide tips on how to get the most out of your IFT treatment.
What is IFT therapy?
Interferential therapy (IFT) is an electrotherapy that relieves pain, reduces swelling, and promotes healing. It involves using low-frequency electrical currents that are delivered to the affected body area using two or more electrodes. The electrical currents used in IFT are typically 4000 Hz to 5000 Hz, which is higher than the frequency used in other forms of electrotherapy, such as TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). The higher frequency of IFT allows the current to penetrate deeper into the affected tissues, making it more effective in reducing pain and inflammation.
During an IFT treatment session, the electrodes are placed on the skin over the affected area. The electrical current is then delivered through the electrodes and into the body. The patient may feel slight tingling or buzzing, but the treatment should not be painful. IFT is often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as back, neck, and joint pain. It can also treat arthritis, edema, and sports injuries. However, IFT is not recommended for everyone and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Types of Interferential therapy
Several types of interferential therapy (IFT) can be used to treat various conditions. Some of the common types of IFT are:
- Traditional IFT: This is the most common form of IFT and involves using two electrodes placed on the skin over the affected area. The electrical current passes between the two electrodes and stimulates the underlying tissues
- Premodulated IFT: This type of IFT uses a single electrode alternating between two frequencies. The alternating frequencies help to reduce pain and inflammation by stimulating the release of endorphins and other natural painkillers
- Amplitude-modulated IFT: This type of IFT involves using two electrodes placed on the skin over the affected area. The electrical current is then modulated to vary the intensity of the stimulation, which can help to reduce pain and promote healing.
- Vector IFT: This type of IFT uses multiple electrodes placed around the affected area at different angles. The electrical current is then directed toward the center of the electrodes, creating a “vector” of stimulation that can be used to treat specific areas of the body
The type of IFT used will depend on the specific condition being treated and the healthcare professional’s preferences.
Interferential therapy symptoms
Interferential therapy (IFT) is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, and the side effects are typically mild and temporary. However, some patients may experience the following symptoms during or after an IFT treatment:
- Tingling or buzzing sensation: Patients may feel a mild tingling or buzzing sensation during the treatment, which is a normal and expected sensation
- Skin irritation: Sometimes, the skin under the electrodes may become red, irritated, or itchy. It is typically a temporary side effect and can be relieved with topical creams or lotions
- Muscle twitching: In rare cases, patients may experience muscle twitching during the treatment. It is usually not harmful and will resolve on its own after the treatment is complete
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: In rare cases, patients may experience dizziness or lightheadedness during or after the treatment. If this occurs, the patient should stop the treatment and seek the necessary medical attention
- Allergic reactions: Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the electrodes or the gel used to attach the electrodes to the skin. If this occurs, the treatment should be stopped immediately, and medical attention should be sought
It’s important to note that these symptoms are generally mild and temporary and should resolve independently after the treatment. The patient should seek medical attention if the symptoms persist or become more severe.
Interferential therapy treatment
Interferential therapy (IFT) treatment typically involves the following steps:
- Assessment: The healthcare professional will perform an initial assessment to determine if IFT is appropriate for the patient’s condition. It may involve a physical examination and a review of the patient’s medical history
- Electrode placement: Once the healthcare professional has determined that IFT is appropriate, they will place the electrodes on the skin over the affected area. The electrodes will be positioned to ensure the electrical current is delivered to the desired location
- Treatment session: The IFT treatment session typically lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. During the session, the patient may feel slight tingling or buzzing. The intensity of the electrical current will be adjusted as needed to ensure that the patient is comfortable
- Repeat sessions: Depending on the patient’s condition, multiple IFT treatment sessions may be needed to achieve the desired results. The healthcare professional will determine the number and frequency of the sessions based on the patient’s response to treatment
- Follow-up: After the treatment sessions, the healthcare professional will typically schedule a follow-up appointment to assess the patient’s progress and determine if further treatment is needed
It’s important to note that IFT should only be administered by a qualified healthcare professional who is trained in its use. Additionally, IFT may not be appropriate for everyone and should only be used after a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition.
Call to Action
If you are experiencing pain or inflammation related to a musculoskeletal condition, interferential therapy (IFT) may be a beneficial treatment option. IFT is a safe and non-invasive therapy that can help to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. If you want to learn more about IFT, talk to Dr. Niraj Patel. He can help you determine if IFT is a suitable treatment option for your condition and can provide you with more information about the treatment process.