What is a TENS Machine?
Tens machines are devices used to relax muscles during physical therapy sessions. They are very effective at relaxing muscle spasms and reducing pain associated with various conditions such as sciatica, back pain, osteoarthritis, etc.
The device consists of two parts: a small electric current generator (generator) which generates high voltage electricity; and a battery pack connected to the generator. The electrical current generated by the generator is then applied to the patient’s body via electrodes placed on their skin.
These electrodes stimulate specific areas of the body, thereby relaxing or increasing blood flow to those areas.
Benefits of Using a TENS Machine
It is believed that tDCS can reduce pain levels in patients suffering from many different types of injuries, including nerve damage and spinal cord injury. It may also help improve motor function in patients with paralysis due to stroke or other causes.
There are several studies showing that tDCS can have positive effects on pain control, cognitive functions, mood and sleep quality. However, there is still no evidence-based research about its effect on recovery time after surgery.
There is some evidence suggesting that it might slow down the progression of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
The tDCS machine was originally designed as a treatment for depression, and it is still sometimes used for this purpose. It has also shown to be highly effective at treating people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
In these cases, the treatment does not take place over several months; instead, it often takes effect immediately. It is believed that this is because tDCS targets the neural pathways involved in OCD, which are different from those linked to depression.
It may also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia.
However, despite all the studies supporting these uses, there is still no official medical approval of tDCS as a treatment for any condition. Furthermore, there are several risks involved with getting a tDCS treatment.
These include burns, scarring and skin infection. There is also a small risk of the treatment triggering a heart attack.
What Can You Expect From a TENS Machine?
A TENS machine can be used to manage pain caused by a wide range of conditions such as:
Low Back Pain
Headaches and Migraines
Joint and Muscle Pain, including arthritis
Foot Pain (including Morton’s Neuroma)
Pain During Childbirth (Epidural)
Labor Induction (Forceps Delivery, Vacuum Extractor)
Other Surgical Procedures
Post-Liposuction Pain (Lipodissolve) Pain After Cosmetic Surgery (Breast Augmentation, Liposuction)
TENS units are also used to manage a range of psychological conditions including:
Anxiety and Panic Disorders
Depression and Mood Disorders (such as bipolar disorder)
The exact way in which a TENS unit works is not well understood. It is believed to stimulate the body’s endorphins and encephalins (neurotransmitters that block the transmission of pain signals to the brain).
By signaling the brain that no real threat to the body exists, it reduces the feeling of pain. It is also thought to stimulate blood circulation and block the transmission of pain signals directly at the site of injury.
TENS unit therapy should always be used under medical supervision. You cannot just buy one online and start treating your ailment (unless you want to risk infection or further medical complications).
It should only be used on adults and with the approval of a doctor.
The general rule is that TENS is most effective when treating acute pain, such as post-surgical pain and headaches, while it is less effective with persistent pain. It may be possible to treat certain types of chronic pain by combining it with medication.
There are many different types of TENS unit available for purchase online. They range in price and features.
Sources & references used in this article:
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the emergency department for pain relief: a preliminary study of feasibility and efficacy by CA Grover, MP McKernan… – Western Journal of …, 2018 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Examination of electrode placements and stimulating parameters in treating chronic pain with conventional transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) by SL Wolf, MR Gersh, VR Rao – Pain, 1981 – Elsevier
A controlled trial of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and exercise for chronic low back pain by RA Deyo, NE Walsh, DC Martin… – … England Journal of …, 1990 – Mass Medical Soc
TENS and Blood Flow by EV TENS – queenwestphysio.ca
News: TENS Units in ED Hope for the Opioid Epidemic? by C Grover – 2017 – journals.lww.com
teNS: Non-invasive pain relief for the early stages of labour by G de Ferrer – 2006 – magonlinelibrary.com
Averaging tens to hundreds of icosahedral particle images to resolve protein secondary structure elements using a Multi-Path Simulated Annealing optimization … by X Liu, W Jiang, J Jakana, W Chiu – Journal of structural biology, 2007 – Elsevier
Concept for ecological pig production in one-unit pens in twelve-sided climate tens. Design and layout by BA Andersen, HF Jensen, HB Møller… – … Animal Husbandry in …, 2000 – orgprints.org