I have knee pain from a poorly tracking kneecap. I've been given an electrical stimulation unit to use at home to fire up the muscles. Why is this treatment better than just plain exercise?

Electrical stimulation makes the muscle contract without your help. It bypasses the regular pathways for voluntary muscle contraction.

There are several advantages to this treatment. First, the machine decides how much muscle gets involved in the contraction. It also controls how long the contraction is held. This gives a more uniform and standard pattern that's not controlled by the person.

Second the new units record when and how long the patient uses the device. This helps measure consistency and compliance with treatment. Third the stimulators are portable and can be taken home. This gives the patient the flexibility to do the treatment at his or her own convenience.