Article by Cliff Harvey PhD 

A few months back I suffered a high-grade separation of my AC joint at Jiu Jitsu. In lay terms, this means that I tore the 3 ligaments that attach the acromion (the little bony bit that sticks out of the top of the shoulder blade) to the clavicle or collarbone. 

Up until the injury, I only had anecdotal reports of how microcurrent therapy could help recovery from injury and I have to admit that I had kinda let the microcurrent application of the Nurokor devices fly under my radar. But that all changed when I sustained the injury and started to look into the research behind the use of microcurrent to help speed the recovery from injuries. The research (see a summary below) looked pretty promising and so, I started to use the Nurokor MiTouch device directly on the injured joint for around 20 minutes following my rehab exercise (which also included around 10 minutes+ of TENS on muscles not causing a contraction in the injured joint). For what it’s worth, I noticed fairly immediate improvements in range of motion, pain, and swelling that did not seem to be related just to normal improvements because on days that I didn’t use the device, I didn’t notice the same effects. 

What is microcurrent therapy?

Microcurrent therapy (MENS – microcurrent electric neuromuscular stimulation) is the application of an electrical at a very low ‘dose’. So, it differs from the more common TENS or EMS because it does not create a contraction of muscle. The advantage of this is that:

  • Microcurrent can be applied over bones and directly to joints
  • The lack of contraction makes it safe for use post-injury (when joint movement would be dangerous or detrimental to recovery)

What does microcurrent do?

Microcurrent therapy has become popular for wound-healing and recovery from injury because it helps to promote improved healing of both bone and connective tissue. [1, 2] It is thought that injured tissue produces abnormal electrical potentials (“injury potentials”) and microcurrent therapy can help to restore the normal electrical balance to tissue, resulting in more rapid regeneration of tissue and return of normal function. [2] 

What are the evidence-based benefits?

Improve the healing rate of soft-tissue

Animal research has shown that microcurrent applied to the skin above damaged connective tissue like meniscus, tendons, and ligaments can speed healing and encourage the growth of healthy tissue. [3-7] 

Improved bone-healing

Microcurrent might also speed bone healing after a fracture,8 by inducing greater numbers of bone-marrow stem-cells and satellite cells critical to bone-repair. [7-9]

Improve skin & wound healing

Improved healing times for skin wounds have been observed in controlled trials in animals. [10, 11] In humans, microcurrent therapy has improved wound closure and healing. [12] Microcurrent therapy has also been demonstrated to be more effective for encouraging wound-healing in burn wounds than negative-pressure wound therapy (a common therapy for burns). [13]

Reduced inflammation

The previous research also noted improved modulation of inflammatory markers, along with epithelial cells and fibroblasts (cells that help to synthesise collagen). 

Reduced pain

Microcurrent therapy resulted in reduced pain after mouth surgery. [12]

 

Make life awesome again with targetted, drug-free pain-relief: Explore NuroKor


References

  1. Poltawski L, Watson T. Bioelectricity and microcurrent therapy for tissue healing – a narrative review. Physical Therapy Reviews. 2009;14(2):104-14.
  2. Burgess TL, Lambert MI. Microcurrent therapy and the treatment of soft tissue injury : review article. International SportMed Journal. 2004;5(2):141-6.
  3. Huang H, Liu J, Pen X. An experimental study on healing of injured avascular portion of meniscus under direct microcurrent stimulation. Chinese Journal of Experimental Surgery 1999(5):44.
  4. Elsayed SEBA. The effect of microcurrent electical stimulation on tendon healing. 2010.
  5. Kwon DR, Moon YS. Synergic regenerative effects of polydeoxyribonucleotide and microcurrent on full-thickness rotator cuff healing in a rabbit model. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2019.
  6. Ahmed AF, Elgayed SSA, Ibrahim IM. Polarity effect of microcurrent electrical stimulation on tendon healing: Biomechanical and histopathological studies. Journal of Advanced Research. 2012;3(2):109-17.
  7. Zickri MB, Abd El Aziz DH. Relation between microcurrent therapy and satellite cells in the regeneration of induced skeletal muscle injury in rat. Egyptian Journal of Histology. 2013;36(2):409-17.
  8. Ko S-H, Yoon B-C, Kim J-S, Min K-O. Effects of Microcurrent and High Voltage Pulsed Galvanic Current Stimulation on Fibular Fracture Healing of the Rabbits. The Journal of the Korea Contents Association. 2011;11(10):286-92.
  9. Zickri MB, Embaby A. The effect of microcurrent therapy on repair of induced tendon injury in albino rat: possible role of endogenous stem cells. Egyptian Journal of Histology. 2013;36(2):400-8.
  10. Oh H-J, Kim J-W, Park J-S. The Effect of Microcurrent Stimulation on Wound Healing in Rat. Journal of the Korean Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology. 2008;6(1):43-55.
  11. Kwon, Won A, P.T, M.S, Park, Rae J, et al. The Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Energy and Microcurrent on Wound Healing in Rabbits. J Kor Phys Ther. 2000;12(3):319-29.
  12. Miguel MMV, MathiasSantamaria IF, Rossato A, Ferraz LFF, FigueiredoNeto AM, de Marco AC, et al. Microcurrent electrotherapy improves palatal wound healing: Randomized clinical trial. Journal of Periodontology. 2020.
  13. Ibrahim ZM, Waked IS, Ibrahim O. Negative pressure wound therapy versus microcurrent electrical stimulation in wound healing in burns. Journal of Wound Care. 2019;28(4):214-9.

Comments

  • Sandy McVay-Batten said:

    In the context of MENS in the role of promoting collagen synthesis does that mean targeted collagen increases to the affected or desired area? Could the device be used to stimulate collagen synthesis in, say, facial tissue? Any anecdotal or other evidence before i stick the probes on my face please Cliff 😄

    March 25, 2021

  • Cliff Harvey said:

    Hey Lindy. Yes! Microcurrent is completely safe (and is effective) for an Achilles tear/tendinopathy as it doesn’t create a muscular contraction and so, doesn’t provide mechanical stimulus for further injury. Microcurrent is best used IMHO with collagen and a multi that provides a decent amount of vitamin C, zinc, and bioflavonoids (Good Green Vitality). Take a collagen drink with 10 g of collagen and 1 serve of GGV before using MENS therapy.

    March 01, 2021

  • Lindy Slater said:

    Is this appropriate for a tear in the Achilles?
    I have tendonopathy with a 28mm longitudinal tear.
    Also is there any supplements that would help healing and condition of ’ old’ tendons? Thanks

    March 01, 2021


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