TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is one of the most commonly used forms of electroanalgesia. Your doctor or physical therapist may suggest the use of a TENS unit as a non-pharmacological treatment for pain relief. There are many painful conditions & injuries that TENS may be effective in treating &/or managing.
Electrical stimulation is used in the treatment of such diagnoses as low back pain, neck pain, myofascial and arthritic pain, neurogenic pain and post-surgical pain. There are many studies that suggest the use of electrical stimulation delivered by a TENS unit reduces pain through a process called nociceptive inhibition. This process is explained by the gate-control theory, which in a very simplistic account, works by tricking your brain into not feeling the pain through application of a more pleasant sensation. Electrical stimulation is delivered through a TENS unit via leads that are connected to electrodes placed directly on the skin over the painful area.
The electric current is applied through the electrodes, and can be controlled with varying frequencies and intensities. It should be a strong but comfortable sensation without muscular contraction. It is possible with repeated usage of TENS to develop a tolerance, rendering the modality less effective.
There are only a few situations in which a TENS unit is not appropriate for use. If you have a pace maker or other internal electronic device you should not use electrical stimulation, as it may result in malfunction of your internal device. Also it is unknown how electrical stimulation may affect an unborn baby; therefore pregnant women should not participate in the application of TENS.
For more information on whether you would be a good candidate for electrical stimulation speak with your physician or physical therapist. Hohman Rehab works with patients in the Clermont 34711 area to get TENS units for home use following an evaluation.