TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is a form of electrotherapy used as a pain relief treatment that works by sending electrical pulses through the skin to the nerve fibers. These electrical pulses stimulate the nerve fibers to produce endorphins, which are natural painkilling chemicals in the body that help to block pain signals from being sent to the brain.TENS devices have become popular over the last several decades due to their apparent effectiveness in managing certain types of pain and their relative safety when compared to opioid drugs or surgery.
What TENS is used for？
TENS may be able to help reduce pain and muscle cramps caused by a variety of conditions, including:
- Menstrual pain
- Pelvic pain due to endometriosis
- Knee pain
- Sports Injury
- Headaches and Migraines
- Nerve pain
- Wounds and Incisions
And it is also sometimes used as a pain relief method during labor. People use TENS in physical therapy and pain clinics. Some hospitals also use them. Hand- held devices are also available to purchase for at-home use.
Does TENS Therapy Really Work?
Some studies have demonstrated that TENS is effective for providing short-term relief of some types of pain, such as back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and labor pain. Healthcare professionals report that it seems to help some people, although its effectiveness depends on the individual and the treatment condition. However, There's not enough good-quality scientific evidence to say for sure whether TENS is a reliable method of pain relief. More research is needed to better understand TENS therapy's long-term effectiveness and benefits.TENS does not cure pain and usually provides only short-term relief while using a TENS machine. But, this treatment is generally very safe, and you may find it worth trying instead of, or in addition to, your usual medication.
How to use TENS devices？
This is a general guide on how to use a TENS machine. Always follow the manufacturer's specific instructions. TENS machines are small and lightweight, so you can use them while working or on the move. You can put it in your pocket, clip it to your belt or hold it in your hand. You can use TENS throughout the day for as long as you like, although it should not be used while you're driving, operating machinery, or in the bath or shower.
- Clean your skin with a block of mild soap and water, then dry it thoroughly.
- Place the TENS machine s electrodes in the targeted areas. Both adhesive and self-adhesive electrodes can be used with a TENS machine.
- Once the electrodes are in place, attach the wires to the machine, connecting the two points on each electrode.
- Turn on the machine and use the LED display to select your desired intensity level. Start at the lowest setting and slowly increase it until you notice a tingling sensation in the area where you placed the electrodes.
- If there are any pre-programmed modes, use them. Start with the suggestion of the manufacturer or the lowest settings. Different models may offer different modes.
- Once the appropriate settings and intensity are achieved, your TENS therapy session may last from 10 to 30 minutes.
- Once your TENS machine session is over, turn off the machine and carefully remove the electrodes. After their removal, clean the skin where the electrodes were located with a damp cloth or wipe.
Need to pay attention to the following tips：
Make sure the machine is switched off before you attach the pads to your skin. Position the pads on either side of the painful area, at least 2.5cm (1 inch) apart. Never place the pads over:
- the front or sides of your neck
- your temples
- your mouth or eyes
- your chest and upper back at the same time
- irritated, infected, or broken skin
- varicose veins
- numb areas
Are there any risks of side effects?
TENS therapy is a drug-free, non-invasive method of pain relief, so there are usually very few risks or side effects associated with it. However, some people may experience discomfort due to the electrodes or may experience a mild headache, dizziness, muscle twitching, or a tingling sensation during or after treatment. And some people with allergies are allergic to pads, and their skin may become red and irritated. It can be seen from this TENS is not safe for everyone to use. Do not use without medical advice in the following cases:
- has pacemakers, defibrillators, or cardiac stimulators
- has another type of electrical or metal implant similar devices in your body
- has epilepsy or a heart problem
- have the electrodes been placed excessively close to the eyes or face
- has overactive bladder
- has pregnancy
- has open wounds
Through the study of this article, we have a basic understanding of TENS therapy. Using a TENS device temporarily relieves pain but does not heal the wound. When it comes to TENS therapy, everyone will think of EMS therapy. In the next issue, we will introduce EMS therapy in detail, and intuitively see the difference between the two.