What is A TENS Unit?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS is a treatment used to control pain. A TENS unit is a battery powered portable device with pocket size, which use mild electrical signals to safely control pain. In this article, you will learn more about this treatment and the proper usage of a TENS Unit.
A TENS Unit can be used to treat different types of pain, such as severe conditions after an accident or surgery. It can also used to minimize chronic pain such as muscle, back, arthritis or cancer pain. This is a good treatment for those who cannot take medication for pain, as TENS is drug free and safe.
How TENS work to control pain
This device will lessen the pain by transmitting pain-free electrical impulses throughout electrodes or sticky patches that is placed on the skin to receive the signal via the nerve endings. These nerves carry messages to our brain for feelings such as warmth, touch, pain and pressure.
TENS signals will be able to substitute the pain message on those nerves using a tingling sensation. The signals might also maximize the number of endorphins in the body. These endorphins are actually chemicals to relieve pain that the body produces naturally.
The electrodes will be placed on different areas on the skin, depending on the kind and location of the pain. These TENS Unit electrodes can be placed in the surrounding or covering the painful spot. This will work very well for spasms, muscle pain or painful joints. The electrodes can also be placed to trap the pain caused by surgery incision.
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It is very important to put the electrodes in the right place for it to relieve the pain. If placed in the wrong area, this could worsen the pain. You should not put electrodes close to the eyes or over the nerves extending from the neck towards the brain or throat.
Generally TENS treatment will last three to five days, but it can be used continuously for pain such as a phantom limb. This is the pain that you would feel in your hand or foot after an amputation procedure. This treatment can be used three or four hours daily for pain such as arthritis.
If you are one those persons with a heart pacemaker, you should not use TENS unit because the signals will interfere with its function. Special care must be taken if you have heart problems and you are using TENS. To date, it’s not known how this treatment will affect the unborn baby, so pregnant women are not advised to use it. Furthermore, the electrodes should not be placed on the neck or head if there is a problem with the blood or even the blood vessels.
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