TENS- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

What is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is an electronic piece of equipment that releases electrical impulses to excite nerves across the skin.  TENS is one of the best ways to alleviate pain and treat inflammation.

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The TENS unit is kept on the skin with the aid of a few electrodes. The placement of these electrodes determines how nerves are stimulated.  Depending on how severe or light the health problem is and depending on the patient, the intensity and frequency of electrode signals are controlled.  The TENS unit is battery operated and includes a pulse generator, a little transformer, some electrodes and frequency and intensity controls.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation benefits

1.       Pain control: Pain control and pain management are the two of the best benefits of TENS.

2.       Quick relief: TENS is known to provide quick relief to many patients.

3.       Effective for a variety of health conditions: Problems like back pain, arthritis,  bladder incontinence, visceral pain and neurogenic pain can be controlled by TENS.

4.       Reduce pain during childbirth: TENS is extensively used decrease pain during childbirth.  However, this should be done on the advice of a gynecologist or doctor only. During the first labor signs, the four electrodes or pads are placed on the back of the woman and electrical impulses ease the contraction pains.

5.       No side effects: Pain killers (analgesics) and medicines that we typically consume in allopathic medicine, can have side effects. But there is no such possibility with TENS.

6.       Low cost: Compared to invasive medicine, drugs and surgery, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is not so costly and is even safer.

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What is TENs (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) actually used for?

As mentioned, TENS can relive pain or inflammation in most parts of the body- back pain, shoulder pain, menstrual pain, aching joints, migraine, sports injurites, labor pain, nerve pain, osteoarthritis, shingles; etc.  The TENS unit produces electrical signals through pads that are kept on the skin, where affected nerves are located. These signals stop the pain signals from reaching the brain. The other benefit of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is that it produces lot of natural healing chemicals called endorphins and encephalins.

TENS is recommended by doctors, medical practitioners physiotherapy experts, sports professionals and coaches and , pain management clinics

What does a TENS unit look like?

A normal TENS unit is smaller in size than a cell phone. The machine has a power module that works due to 9 volt battery and are attached by wires to foam pads in the form of electrodes.

Is there a difference between TENS Unit and Muscle Stimulator?

TENS can treat chronic and acute pain. The muscle stimulator improves blood circulation, eases muscle tension and treats joint stiffness.  Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is better than muscle stimulator because it includes these and has other health benefits as well.

Can TENS work to give medication inside the body?

Yes, there is a process known as lontophoresis. In this process, the therapist applies topical steroid medicine through TENS unit to treat various types of acute pain. The mild current then helps pass medication to the soft tissue and remove pain.

Is TENS procedure safe?

Yes, TENS is a totally safe procedure and the electrical impulses are mild enough not to cause problems. However, people with certain conditions should not use it. These are people who have pacemakers in their hearts or use spinal cord stimulations; they should get the approval of the doctor. Also pregnant women should avoid Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unless the doctors gives her consent. This is because the effect on the health of the fetus is unfounded. People with heart diseases, epilepsy and seizures should avoid. Do not use the TENS treatment on broken skin, damaged skin, eyes and sides of the mouth.

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