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With an injured or inflamed joint such as sprained knees, hip, back, or frozen shoulder, the treatment objectives of diathermy are to relieve pain, prevent stiffness, and restore restricted movement. Diathermy is frequently the most effective means for accomplishing these aims because the deep heat relieves the pain, relaxes the muscle fibers, and permits easier movement.

Diathermy uses short-wave electro-magnetic energy to raise the temperature of soft tissues below the skin. This increases blood circulation and can help speed the healing process. Diathermy is an effective form of adjunctive therapy. It relaxes the muscles and connection tissue. Diathermy can help increase range of motion, reduce muscle spasms and cramping and make movement and stretching less painful.

Diathermy also has a soothing and relaxing effect on the type of muscle spasms and contractures often seen in low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and some spinal disc problems. This type of heat, by going deep into the structures, can often bring about complete relief that lasts for hours and sometimes for days and weeks at a time. Spastic conditions of the stomach, gallbladder and intestines also often respond well to the application of diathermy.

What does diathermy feel like?

It should feel pleasantly warm, but not hot. If treatment makes an area uncomfortably warm or you feel pressure, tell the therapist or doctor immediately.

Why is diathermy used?

The patient benefits of diathermy include:

  • Can help speed the healing process
  • Dilates blood vessels for improved circulation
  • Stimulates white blood cell production
  • Increases metabolism and waste removal
  • Helps prevent adhesions and scar tissue