Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Units are small, transportable devices that send very tiny amounts of electrical impulses to specific parts of the body. These non-invasive units help block pain messages that are being directed to the brain. They can be battery operated and are usually small enough to fit in your pocket, making them easily transportable and easy to use “on-the-go.” There are also TENS conductive gel and pads that can be used to treat pain.
The currents that the TENS units produce are typically minor, but are very effective in blocking pain signals. They can significantly help break the cycle of pain that a patient may be feeling on a regular basis. The patient will have electrodes fixed to the skin surface near the area of pain and treatment can vary depending on the specific issue that is causing pain. TENS units are drug free and safe, because they simply trigger your body to make more endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural way to relieve pain.
TENS units are one of the only methods of treatment that has the capacity to target the precise area of pain. This means they can be quite effective in reducing pain or abolishing it completely.
What types of medical issues can benefit from a TENS unit?
– Joint pain
They can also be used for pain that has been caused by a traumatic injury or discomfort that is caused by routine use of a specific body part such as the neck, arm, shoulder, or back.
What are the side effects of a TENS unit?
These units have very few side effects because they don’t use any drugs or chemicals. They won’t make you drowsy or nauseous and they won’t react with any other medications you might be taking. However, there may be muscle twitching or muscle pain when you first start using them or if the muscle is too stimulated. In addition, there may be slight skin discomfort or irritation. Furthermore, if used improperly, these units can burn the skin. Units can be used around the clock for pain relief, but it is usually recommended that they be removed once a day to give your body a break.
Should you use TENS units for pain?
TENS units are usually prescribed by doctors, physical therapists, or occupational therapists to patients that have been living with chronic pain. Before you try them, you should always consult with your doctor first so you can figure out what setting or type of TENS unit would work best for your specific situation. Also, be aware that if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have cancer, you should not use a TENS unit. You should also never use them near the heart or if you have an artificial pacemaker, this type of unit should not be used.
If you and your doctor decide that a TENS unit is right for you, begin using it slowly until you know how it will affect you. If you notice pain relief right away, that’s fantastic – but remember that just because you are experiencing pain relief, you shouldn’t overdo it with excessive physical activity. This may end up causing you more pain in the long run.
TENS units aren’t the perfect answer to pain relief for everyone, but they can help many individuals suffering from chronic pain. Talk to your doctor today to see if a TENS unit is right for you! If you are considering TENS units to help manage pain, these products can be bought from Tower Health.