FAQ’s on TENS Units
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
TENS units are about the size of an ipod, and run on battteries. They are able to alleviate post-op pain, acute and chronic pain in a low risk manner. Those types of pain include back/neck/leg/arm/knee/shoulder, etc. These devices attach to the waistband and permit great mobility and freedome during use.
TENS units are a non-invasive, drug free, non-surgical, safe pain treatment that can help decrease the need for opiate medication and also provide an excellent additional treatment for decreasing pain.
A TENS Unit is an excellent pain treatment supplement, Chiropractic therapy, physical rehabilitation, and spinal decompression therapy. TENS units are also great for nerve type pain (such as from sciatica due to a pinched nerve) and not simply back pain.
Typically TENS units have a clip that goes on your pants or pockets so that they are easily mobile.
How Does a TENS Unit Work?
A TENS unit emits small electrical impulses to the electrodes, which then shift these electrical impulse to the soft tissie and nerves underneath the skin. The basic parts of a TENS unit are the battery source, the electrodes, and a smart advanced computer chip (it’s not that smart).
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What medical conditions are TENS Units good for?
TENS Unit for back pain is the most common, but it also helps with the following:
• TMJ Pain
• Shoulder Pain, Ankle Pain, Wrist Pain, Hip Pain, Knee Pain
• Mid back pain, Upper back pain,
• Tendonitis and Bursitis
• Muscular Strains and Sprains
• Neck Pain
• Sciatica and Radiculopathy
• Arthritis flare ups
• Sports Injuries
• Herniated disc or Bulging disc pain
Does a TENS unit cure the underlying source of the pain problem?
TENS units are not meant to cure the underlying pain problem. A TENS Unit is just for symptom relief, but not a cure.
How is a TENS unit put on the body?
The TENS Unit Electrodes are placed directly over or close to the painful area. Slight electrical impulses are emitted through the electrodes on the skin and then travel through the soft tissues and nerve fibers. The current goes through the electrodes and into the skin activating specific nerve pathways with an associated tingling or massaging sensation that decreases a patient’s pain perception.
How Does a TENS Machine work?
The TENS machine works by decreasing the signals to the brain that usually tell it to feel pain. TENS Units also helps the body to make higher levels of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals.
How long does it take for a TENS Unit to begin relieving my pain?
It takes about 30 minutes or less for the pain relief to kick in.
For What Time Period is it Okay to Use a TENS Unit?
Some people use their TENS units during the day off and on for pain relief a lot. It should not be used continuously for many hours. It is best to wear a TENS Unit for 1-2 hours and then remove it for a bit.
How does a TENS Unit make a person feel when it’s on?
It produces a tingling sensation in the treated area but should not cause pain. If it is painful, the TENS’ settings should be changed.
What are the potential side effects with TENS Units?
TENS Unit side effects are extremely unusual and most people experience substantial pain relief. At times people may notice red skin over the region of the electrodes.
How can I get a TENS Unit?
Typically one obtains a prescription from a medical provider such as a Pain Doctor, chiropractor, or a Florida Physical Therapist for a TENS Machine. A prescription is not always needed though. When you get a TENS Unit, it will be set for the best pain management settings by the doctor and custom instructions will be given about use. It is not recommended to alter those settings unless you were given explicit instructions on how to accomplish this.
How well do TENS Units work?
For some acute and chronic pain patients, a TENS Unit gives excellent pain relief that may last for quite a few hours. For other individuals, a TENS Unit may redcue the amount of opiate medication needed.
TENS Unit Research
Few large, randomized research studies have been done on the effectiveness of TENS Units for pain reduction. The research that does exist on TENS units is controversial with the results. Anecdotally TENS users typically rave about the helpfulness of the units. Along with chiropractic and PT and also in conjunction with pain management therapies, the results anecdotally have been great. They also do well in the post-surgery arena.
Ask your doctor if a TENS Unit will help your pain condition. If you are in Florida the Florida Pain Network provides listings for Florida pain doctors, chiropractors, or Florida Physical Therapists who may be recommend a TENS unit for alleviating your pain.
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Preferred Pain Center’s diverse treatments span traditional (medical and interventional pain management along with PT), complementary (chiropractic treatment and spinal decompression services), and holistic methods (naturopathic). Our blog is dedicated to educating and discussing topics anything and everything related to Pain.