TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and is commonly used in physical therapy to aid in pain relief. With this tratment sticky electrodes are placed on the skin around the painful area. When the TENS unit is turned on, it delivers a light current through the electrodes to the skin and tissues just beneath it. The sensation feels a bit like tingling, or pins and needles, though the intensity can be set high enough to make a muscle twitch. TENS is most commonly used for back pain and neck pain.
TENS is a type of electrical stimulation to help with pain relief.
How it Works:
TENS is thought to disrupt the pain cycle by delivering a different, non-painful sensation to the skin aroudn the pain site. In essence, it modulates the way we process the pain sensations from that area. This therapy closes the pain gate, so to speak.
Depending on the frequency the electrical stimulation unit delivers, the electrical stimulation can also trigger the body to release endorphins. Endorphins act as natural painkillers, and help promote a feeling of well-being.
TENS for Chronic Pain:
Does TENS relieve chronic pain? Sadly, the jury is still out on this one. A number of researchers have determined that it can help control chronic pain. However most studies show little difference between the TENS unit and the placebo. Like most chronic pain treatment, it does not work for everyone.
The good news is that it has few side effects, if any. It won’t interact with other medications, and it won’t make you drowsy. Once your TENS unit is programmed, it is easy to apply, and can be worn during most activities