Iontophoresis Lake City & Florence, SC

Iontophoresis

What is iontophoresis?

Iontophoresis is a therapeutic modality, which uses an electric current to deliver a medicine through the skin. Simply put, it’s a way to transfer ions from one place to another – Ionto = ion; phoresis = transfer. In therapy, a corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone, is typically the medication of choice.

What is iontophoresis used for?

In therapy, iontophoresis is often used for patients with tendon injuries that are chronic in nature. There is moderate evidence to support its use for some diagnoses, such as mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy. The goal of iontophoresis is to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area via administration of a corticosteroid. It can be a much more comfortable alternative to receiving a steroid injection, which is often recommended for patients with chronic tendon issues.

Does iontophoresis hurt?

Iontophoresis should not be painful, but it can be mildly uncomfortable. It’s sometimes described as a similar sensation to if you were to touch your tongue to the tip of an AA battery. It definitely doesn’t compare to the sting of receiving a steroid injection.

What should I expect?

In South Carolina, a liquid corticosteroid (most often dexamethasone) for the purposes of iontophoresis must be prescribed by a referring doctor, and you, as the patient, must bring it with you to each of your appointments after picking it up from your pharmacy.

Iontophoresis is somewhat similar to electrical stimulation, in that it involves placing electrodes on and around the painful area. The medication is administered onto the electrode, and then the electrode is applied directly to a clean, dry area on your skin, where the pain is. Once the machine is turned on, you should just feel very mild pulsing sensations. Treatment is typically administered for 10-20 min and done after completing exercises and other manual treatments.

Expect great results

Iontophoresis when indicated, like most other therapeutic modalities, is only one small piece of your recovery puzzle. It is one tool that we use to assist with expediting your recovery process, but it is not a silver bullet. Iontophoresis is beneficial most often when combined with other treatments, including manual therapy and exercise that specifically addresses your movement impairments.

Contact Us today at Lake City & Florence, SC Centers to schedule an appointment!