Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS is a drug free method of controlling pain. Electrical impulses are sent along wires connected to electrodes that are adhered to the skin. These signals ‘trick’ the brain into thinking there is no pain. TENS is not meant to cure the problem, merely to relieve some of the pain. TENS does not work equally for everyone, however most people find it effective in reducing or eliminating pain. This allows people to return to their normal activity more comfortably.
There have been many studies to decipher the effectiveness of treating pain with TENS within many different fields. Many times TENS is used in conjunction with other pain medications.
According to a study done by the Journal of American Dental Association, patients were less likely to return for subsequent dental treatments after painful dental procedures. They noted that when a TENS unit was used during the procedure to inhibit pain, the clients followed through with their later dental care.
Phantom Limb Pain
Today, it is known that virtually all amputees experience phantom sensations, painful or not, after limb amputation due to the damage of nerves and how they communicate with the central nervous system. TENS has been successfully used to reduce the severity of that pain and sometimes eliminate it altogether.
Lower Back pain and Sciatica
TENS treatment has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of back pain and sciatica.
The most common causes of neck pain are poor posture, poor sleeping position, emotional stress, blows to the head, whiplash or a pinched nerve. TENS s ideal for the treatment of neck pain
TENS o offers an excellent alternative to pain-killing drugs when treating the chronic pain associated with arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Pain from cancer can be the result of the pressure of a tumor. It can also be from radiation or chemotherapy where the treatments can cause irritation to healthy tissue and this, in turn may cause inflammation, pain, and sensitive nerve endings. TENS can help relieve some of this pain.
The main symptom of Fibromyalgia is severe muscle pain accompanied by fatigue, fever, irritable bowel syndrome, chest pain, and abdominal pain. TENS can be used to control some of the pain caused by Fibromyalgia.
Tendinitis and Bursitis
TENS has been successfully used in these and similar inflammatory conditions such as tennis elbow and trigger finger or thumb.
Migraines, tension headaches, Cluster headaches, also known as erythroprosopalgia or Bing-Horton’s neuralgia, have all been treated with success using TENS.
Excessive prostaglandin produced during menstruation can cause menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) which can also cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. TENS has been successfully used as a drug free alternative for managing the pain.
TENS has been used to ease the painful recovery of Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis where chronic pain is caused by connective tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder becomes inflamed and stiff, greatly restriction motion.
Neuralgia or neuropathy which is nerve pain caused by nerve damage, nerve irritation, infection or other disease has been eased by the use of TENS. Examples include trigeminal neuralgia, postherapetic neuralgia (shingles pain), diabetic neuropathy, postoperative nerve pain, and tmj disorder.
TENS has been applied to numerous other forms of chronic and acute pain such as pain associated with diabetes, various joint pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), costochondritis, interstitial cystitis, Hunner’s ulcers, carpal tunnel, ankylosing spondylitis, acute sprains and strains, burns, broken bones, and post surgery pain.
TENS is generally considered safe. However when used incorrectly could cause irritation or burns to the skin. The electrodes should not be used over eyes, heart, brain or front of the throat. The unit should not be used by those with a pacemaker as the signal may interfere with the function of the pacemaker. A TENS unit should also not be used if you are pregnant except under the strict supervision of a physician as the effects of the treatment to the unborn baby are unknown.