What is a TENS machine?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (Tens machine) is a small device that is used by medical experts to send electrical currents to the targeted body parts which help in relieving pain. TENS machine comes for both home and professional use.
With the help of TENS machine therapy; the high sensitivity to pain called hyperalgesia is subdued. It can be used all over the body.
What does a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit do?
As we have mentioned above, a TENS machine helps in relieving pain in any part of the body through pulse signals. It gives the body permanent or temporary relief from pain. It helps in realizing endorphins and stops abnormally excited nerves.
TENS unit helps in relieving pain through altering the following aspects of the electrical current:
Intensity: The intensity of the electrical stimulation is adjusted through the dial on the machine.
Frequency: The number of electrical pulses the machine will release is determined by the frequency. 80 to 120 cycles per second comes under the high-frequency pulse range which helps in managing acute pain. While 1 to 20 cycles per second comes under the low-frequency pulse range which is used for the treatment of chronic pain.
Duration: The number of a microsecond for which the current enters the skin and body is determined by the duration.
TENS therapy is used for many conditions, including:
Some of the conditions for which TENS therapy is used are as follows:
Apart from this it also helps in pain prevention in injuries.
Uses of TENS Machine
A TENS machine helps treat many problems. Some of the problems for which the TENS machine is exceptionally beneficial are as follows:
- labor pain
- Period Pain
- joint pain
- postoperative pain
- Back and neck pain
So, these are some of the symptoms for which the TENS machine is used.
Benefits of TENS Machine
TENS offers one of the best non-invasive pain relief methods that are extremely effective. One can use it in the comfort of their home similar to any over-the-counter pain relief medicines.
A proper TENS machine therapy also helps in reducing the amount of medicine taken by the patients for pain relief. But, make sure you consult your doctor before making any changes in the dosage of your medicine.
Another amazing benefit of the TENS unit is it is portable and small built. You can use it in the comfort of your home anytime you want.
Side Effect of TENS Machine
For the most part, the TENS unit is known for being extremely safe. But, on extremely rare occasions there are times when the electrical current can be too intense for the patient and that can cause burning and irritation on the skin.
There are no noted side effects of the TENS unit on fetuses but we recommend pregnant women should avoid using the TENS unit for pain relief. Apart from this, people with heart problems should also use caution when using it.
People with skin problems and allergies should also use caution as the electrode pads used in the units can react to the allergies. Electrical currents produced by this unit can also damage pacemakers, defibrillators, pumps, or any other similar device.
How TENS Machine Works?
How a TENS unit works is clearly explained in its name itself. The Transcutaneous translates to through the skin, Electrical with the help of the electrical pulses a TENS unit affects the pain signals that are sent to the brain through electrodes placed in the body.
Nerve, Pain signals sent by the nerve and spinal cord to the brain are manipulated through TENS. Stimulation, all the pain signals from the body part are blocked and fewer such signals reach the brain which reduces the pain.
The two ways through which the TENS unit works are as follows:
The electrical pulses generated by the TENS unit in a 90-130 Hz pulse range block and interfere in the pain signals sent by the body to the brain. The concept of gate control theory of pain is applied here.
This theory proposes the idea of gate mechanism in the spinal cord and brain nerves. When this nerve gate is opened the pain messages get through easily to the brain and we feel immense pain but when the gate is closed or interrupted these pain messages are blocked and we can’t feel pain.
So, what a TENS unit does is stimulates the non-pain carrying nerves and closes the gate. In turn, it keeps our brain busy in dealing with a message received by the electrical pulses by the TENS machine and blocks slow and painful signals that your body is sending to the brain.
It works similar to when we rub the body part right after we are injured and it temporarily reduces pain.
Another way through which it works it creates a stimulation through which endorphins are released in the brain which works as morphine to block the pain.
What are the results of TENS?
Proper use of the TENS unit results in temporary and prolonged relief from pain. It helps in releasing endorphins in the brain and controls the nerve which directly works in the relief in the site of pain.
There were cases where people noticed permanent relief from pain after regular repeated sessions with the TENS unit. However, the results of the TENS machine largely depend on the condition, intensity, and tolerance of the patient. Research have shown that after using the TENS unit at the same frequency for few times people developed a tolerance to it. If you are experiencing something similar we recommend alternating through frequency.
TENS Machine safety
As we have mentioned in the side-effects section there is no safety issue with the TENS unit so you can use it without any worries. Just make sure all the prerequisites are met which are mentioned in the side-effects section.
Cleaning and storage
Since the electrode pads are moisture sensitive wipe them after every use with a wet paper cloth to prolong their life. If used and maintained well they can last for 30 uses. Do not use rubbing alcohol or chemical cleaners to clean the electrodes as it can cause irritation in your skin and damage the electrodes in the process.
The electrodes in a TENS unit are water-based so they may dry out that is why after using you should store them in a plastic bag in their re-sealable bag away from direct sunlight. Always store the wires and pods in a cool and dry place.
If your electrodes become too dry and sticky you can put them in a refrigerator and they will be ready to use. Try not to drop the unit on a hard surface. Since it is moisture sensitive don’t leave them in a too hot or cold place or get them wet. Never coil or bend the wired tightly as it can damage the machine.
Tips for buying TENS Machine
There are many great options that you can go for if you wish to buy a Tens machine but before you out to get one you should talk with your doctor. First, you need to ensure whether a tens machine will work for you or not so have your doctor treat you with a tense machine first and then check the tens machine price to find out whether you can afford one for regular use or not.
TENS machines are covered in insurance if the treatment is deemed necessary so make sure you check that as well before purchasing.
Why Buy TENS Machine Online?
If you are planning to buy a TENS machine for yourself then you will get many great options both offline and online. But, if you want to get a high-quality one at the best price then you should purchase a TENS machine online.
When purchasing TENS units online you get many great options that you can hardly find through offline medium and it will ultimately cost you a lot less than then getting it from a store as you will save a lot of travel expenses. Apart from all this, there are many great offers that you can get when shopping for the TENS unit online.
So, this is everything that you should know before purchasing a TENS machine for yourself. We hope that this article will help you in finding the right solution for your problem. If you have any other query feel free to let us know.