TENS

TENS machines explained

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TENS units are small portable devices used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world for safe, noninvasive and most importantly drug free pain management.

Typically TENS can be used to alleviate chronic and acute pain symptoms.

TENS is an acronym of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

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CONDITIONS WHERE TENS USE IS INDICATED

  • Tendonitis/Bursitis
  • Back and neck pain
  • Ligament injury
  • RSI
  • Arthritic pain

HOW DO WE FEEL PAIN:
The body has pain receptors located in many different parts of our body, medically known as Nocioceptors. These Nociceptors are connected to a single nerve which transmits electrical impulses to the brain through the spinal cord. The feeling and discomfort of pain is then registered to the brain. No explanation is needED how that feels!

In 63AD Sribonius Largus, physician to Emperor Claudius first reported the benefits of standing on an electric fish to aid pain relief. As electricity had yet to be discovered the fish must have seemed a magical being.
We have come a long way since then.

HOW DOES TENS WORK TO REDUCE PAIN.

Two Ways

FIRST: On 19 November 1965 a paper was published by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall postulating a new theory of Pain Mechanisms. Please see link here for full paper >>
Without going into great detail about Melzack and Walls ground breaking work. We need to know that TENS machines create fast electrical nerve stimulation that overrides the slower real pain impulses. This effectively masks the pain signals being transmitted to the brain.

SECOND: Pain relieving Endorphins are released by the electrical stimulation created by TENS. It can take up to 45 minutes though before Endorphin level have increased sufficiently to be really effective in pain relief. But the level should remain high for many hours before further stimulation is required.

The first wearable TENS unit was patented in the USA in 1974

HOW TO USE TENS
Very simple to use, simply apply at least two pads a minimum of 5 centimeters (2 inches) apart and choose the electrical stimulation mode you require.
All TENS units should come with manufactures instructions on pad placement and mode modulation. Normally they will have at least three mode permutations.

  • Varying frequency.
  • Higher power frequency and intensity.
  • Constant pulse and frequency.

Two more terms you need to understand are

  • Pulse rate. No this does not refer to your pulse rate, but to the frequency of pulses per second from the machine
  • Pulse width. How long the current is on.

 

Typical treatment time should be from 45 to 60 minutes. You can easily self treat with TENS machines. They are easy safe and effective.

Some words of advice
1 ALWAYS APPLY PADS WITH MACHINE IN THE OFF POSITION.
2 INCREASE POWER BAND IN A SLOW AND CONTROLLED WAY UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR COMFORT LEVEL

3 ALWAYS READ MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS.

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