TENS is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Far from being as scary as it sounds, TENS is actually a safe and noninvasive treatment for all types of acute and chronic pain caused by arthritis, back injury, and a wealth of other sources. Using small electrical currents, TENS units negate pain areas through controlled electric shock. The sensation caused by TENS is said to be like a light tingling or the feeling of pins and needles similar to when your leg falls asleep.
TENS units counter the feeling of pain by providing different sensations to the affected nerves. In a sense, it confuses the nerves into not knowing which sensation to transmit, resulting in the easing of the sensation of pain in the area. Studies have also shown the likelihood that these electrical stimulations trigger the release of endorphins, causing elevated mood and a decreased focus on the pain itself. The combination results in a far lessened level of pain for the user.
TENS And Types Of Pain
TENS is useful both for chronic pain and for isolated pain, according to studies. Users of TENS units report lessened pain due to arthritis and chronic back ailments, as well as pain caused by localized events in the body. In particular, TENS treatment has been effectively demonstrated to reduce the pain associated with bursitis, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, back injuries, and other causes. In other studies it has been associated with reducing swelling in stiff joints and aiding in relaxation techniques.
TENS And Labor
TENS has been demonstrated to be effective in the blocking of pain signals during labor. Electrodes attached to the back at the base of the spine block the pain signals and reduce labor pains. Pain sensations are replaced by the feeling of light tingling or buzzing. Some have reported that it is a slightly ticklish sensation.
Side Effects Of TENS
One of the greatest benefits of TENS is that it has no adverse side effects if properly used. It does not interact with other medications, and it does not cause any known problems due to use. It can be worn easily outside the home and used during almost any activity. Unlike the prescription narcotics to which TENS is an alternative, the treatment has no incidence of dependence or addiction, making it an ideal treatment for those who suffer from drug dependence or addiction.
Cautions With TENS
TENS devices should not be used in conjunction with a pacemaker device, as both provide electrical current. Use of a TENS device should be done in close supervision under the care of a licensed physician. TENS devices are not meant for use on the head, face, or neck; take care to avoid using the device in a manner not consistent with proper use. Pregnant women have been advised not to use TENS for pain relief as well as cancer patients.
TENS For Headaches
There are varieties of TENS units that employ microcurrents for the treatment of pain centered in the head and face areas, such as headaches and toothaches. Do not use a regular TENS unit to treat migraine pain or other head pain, as the currents are stronger and the head a more sensitive area to the effects of electricity. Use a regular TENS unit only as directed and consult a physician if you are considering TENS for headache or facial pain.
TENS Vs. EMS
TENS units operate along similar lines to Electrical Muscle Stimulators (EMSs), using electrical current to stimulate the body. While EMS machines target muscles, stimulating them for pain relief and spasm relief, as well as stimulation to increase activity and strength after atrophy, TENS units are targeted on nerve-based pain. EMS and TENS are similar but different machines with similar but different purposes.
How TENS Can Help You Today
If you are suffering from chronic pain, you owe it to yourself to talk to a medical professional about the possibility of treatment with TENS. TENS has helped countless Australians relieve their chronic pain, and it can help you as well. The side effects are zero and the risks are none, but the benefits can be astronomical. Particularly if you have struggled with the difficulties of traditional pain treatments, it is time to seek an alternative that works.