What is TENS?
TENS is a type of electrotherapy that falls under physiotherapy techniques. It is an innovative methodology to combat pain and discomfort in the body. This therapy can be used to relieve pain caused by either acute or chronic injuries. Acute injuries are traumatic injuries while chronic injuries are long-term. A lot of people suffer from chronic pain. Having a TENS unit at hand can assist you in pain relief on a regular basis.
How does it work?
TENS is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The word ‘transcutaneous’ refers to something occurring beneath the skin layer. The therapy operates by sending small low-voltage electric currents beneath the skin. These currents target nerves and pain receptors under the first epidermal layer.
The therapy works by cutting off signals received by the brain from the affected area in the body. The electrodes of the unit are attached to the area that is causing pain. After the TENS machine is switched on, a low voltage current travels across the fibers in that region. The current breaks the flow of information from these nerves to the brain. This numbs the pain.
How safe is it?
The idea of sending electric currents through the skin might seem dangerous at first sight. However, the modality is completely safe and has little or no side effects. Most of the times, people are liable to even have portable TENS units at home. This should always be done under advisement. Normally, your physiotherapist or a certified acupuncturist will fix the settings to suit your particular needs. A demonstration of how to use the machine is always provided.
The procedure also is, of course, completely painless. The patient might feel a mild sensation of pins and needles in the area of effect. There is no discomfort, however, because of the very low voltage value.
What is TENS used to treat?
TENS is used to relieve both acute and chronic pain. The modality targets problems related to muscles, joints, and bones. Some of the most common problems TENS can help with are:
- Tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the muscle tissues in the body.
- Bursitis, which is an inflammation suffered by pads between joints.
- Pain related to osteoporosis.
- Pain related to Fibromyalgia, which is intense pain-sensitivity and causes pain all over the body.
- Pain related to neck and spinal conditions.
- Pain caused post-labour.
- Cancer pain.
The benefits of TENS
TENS is often chosen by people who prefer drug-free pain relief. It is a more natural and non-invasive process of pain relief. Since the machine targets the nerves, it also assists with the natural pain relief system of the body. The modality can also be used to retrain the nerves. This means that it can allow the return of sensation even in areas suffering from nerve damage.
The process also releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are basically the chemicals that make you happy. Exercise also has a similar effect on the brain. TENS is a modality used by many certified physiotherapy clinics and is often advised by doctors. A TENS machine is portable and easy to use, which makes it a good device to have at home.