Chronic pain can make it hard for one to move around and perform daily tasks. Surgery and physical therapy are some treatments you can choose. One non-pharmacological method of managing pain that has become popular is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Using TENS for Pain Management
When using the TENS for pain management, a battery-operated device called a TENS unit is used to administer mild electrical currents to your skin. When your nervous system receives the electrical impulses, its ability to transmit pain signals to the brain and spinal cord reduces. At the same time, the body is stimulated to produce endorphins – natural pain relievers.
There are a few terms in its controls you need to get acclimatized to before you can use the TENS machine. These are:
- Duration: The time it takes the current (in microseconds) to enter your skin during each pulse.
- Frequency: It is the number of electrical pulses generated per second. High-frequency (HF) pulsations, which have a cycle rate of 80 to 120, may be used to treat sudden discomfort. When treating chronic pain, low-frequency (LF) pulses with a frequency of 1 to 20 cycles per second are appropriate.
- Intensity: The user may change the electrical stimulation’s intensity using a dial.
Contact your physician or doctor before you can start using a TENS machine. Additionally, consider the following precautions:
- Use it only to address the condition suggested by your doctor
- Never use the TENS unit while driving
- Never use it while in the bathtub or shower
- Do not use it with cold packs or heating pads
- Periodically check and clean the skin beneath the electrodes. Do not leave them in position for a long time.
- Stop using the TENS device and contact your doctor if a rash that lasts over six hours develops on your skin.
Common Pains Managed by the TENS Procedure
The therapy can be used to manage some of the following conditions:
- Period pain
- Postoperative pain
- Neck and back pain
- Joint pain
- Labor pain
You can also use the procedure to alleviate pain resulting from sports injuries, painful diabetic neuropathy, and fibromyalgia.
Advantages of Using the TENS Method To Relieve Pain
- It is a non-invasive method of relieving pain
- Reduces the intake of painkillers that may be addictive or cause side effects
- TENS devices are relatively discrete, small, and portable. They can be carried around for immediate pain relief.
Is TENS Safe for Everyone?
Though the method is considered safe for most people, the following groups are discouraged from using it unless recommended by a doctor:
- Those struggling with heart problems
- Those with metal or electrical implants such as pacemakers
- Those with epilepsy
- Pregnant women – are usually discouraged from using it around the pelvic and abdominal regions.
Southeast Pain & Spine Care focuses on different pain management methods. You can contact our team or fill out the form for further help. We are always ready to help and discuss various options with you.