TENS Machine Benefits
A TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine is a battery-operated device that is used to treat pain through the delivery of small electrical pulses. The pulses are sent through electrodes via adhesive pads that can attach to the users’ skin. As the electrical impulses stimulate the bodies nervous system, it reduces its ability to transmit any pain signals to the brain and spinal cord. Sounds complicated, right?
There’s a little more to it than that. The same electrical pulses also work to stimulate our bodies to produce endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain relievers. So, not only does a TENS machine prevent the bodies ability to transmit pain signals, but it also relieves it.
Using the controls on a TENS machine, users are able to adjust the intensity, duration and frequency. Using these controls allows users to administer an appropriate level of pain relief in order to treat the area of concern. Of course, the intensity, duration and frequency are entirely dependent on the area that requires treatment, the users’ pain threshold and the severity of the issue.
Typically, a TENS machine can be used to treat:
- Period pain
- Labour pain
- Joint pain
- Neck and back pain
- Postoperative pain.
Beyond these uses, a TENS machine can also help to alleviate the pain that is associated with the following conditions:
- Sporting injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
If you’re planning on using a TENS machine to treat these kinds of conditions, you should check with a healthcare professional beforehand to ensure it’s the right treatment for you.
- A TENS machine is a non-invasive method of pain relief, making it a good choice for those who need a self-administrated method of pain relief that doesn’t come in the form of medication. For example, if a patient has to reduce their intake of pain medication for whatever reason, a TENS machine can bridge the gap.
- A TENS unit is portable, small and discreet, making it a convenient on the go pain relief method. Depending on the area you’re treating, you can often slip the device into your pocket and enjoy immediate access to pain relief during the day without anyone even realizing.
But Does It Really Work?
Although a TENS machine sounds great, today, there isn’t enough solid scientific evidence to prove that it’s a reliable method of pain relief. In fact, a lot of trials investigating the effectiveness of a TENS machine are currently ongoing. With that said, healthcare professionals report that a TENS machine can indeed help some users. The effectiveness of a TENS machine can come down to the individual using it as well as the specific condition being that requires treatment.
It’s worth being aware that a TENS unit certainly isn’t a cure for pain. Most commonly, it often provides short-term relief, usually during the time of use. However, as a non-invasive and generally very safe method of treating pain, there is certainly no harm in trying it out to see if it works for you.
Is A TENS Unit Right For Me?
As mentioned before, before you go out and try a TENS machine, you should speak to a medical professional. Although you are able to purchase a TENS machine without any medical advice, we would recommend ensuring that is an appropriate method of pain management for you and your condition. Furthermore, to reap the benefits from a TENS, it’s essential that the settings are adjusted correctly to suit you and your condition.
How To Use A TENS Machine
Although you should seek the advice from a professional, if you’d like to try out a TENS machine for yourself, there are some simple precautionary to follow:
- Position the pads either side of the area of pain, ensuring they are at least 1 inch apart.
- Entirely avoid placing the pads over your temples, your mouth, your eyes, the front or sides of your neck, broken skin, varicose veins and numb areas.
- Do not turn on the machine until the pads are correctly positioned.
- When you do switch the device one, start on a low setting before gradually increasing to a level that is comfortable for you.
- If you feel any pain or discomfort reduce the intensity, adjust the pads or use the TENS machine for lesser periods of time.
To summarise, although there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of a TENS machine, many users have reported that it’s an effective method of pain relief. Of course, a TENS machine isn’t a cure for pain, rather a management tool that distracts you and releases endorphins. It’s by no means a long term solution for pain management or for increasing pain tolerance; however, if you’re in need of immediate pain relief that isn’t in the form of medicine, a TENS machine might just do the trick for you.