What is TENS Therapy
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It involves using electrical stimulation at the site of pain to relieve it. Now, this is not the electric shock therapy that you’ve seen on television movies. The current generated is much smaller.
This is how it works. Electrodes are placed on your body wherever it hurts. Usually, they try to find a nerve pathway to use when positioning the electrodes. Once placed, the electrodes are hooked up to a small generator that runs on batteries. A small current that is less than one thousandth of an amp is passed to your body.
The theory behind TENS therapy is that this small current brings pain relief. It overrides the pain pathway and stops it. Basically, it scrambles the signal that the brain is sending out to stop the pain from occurring. The electricity is also thought to cause the body to produce a feel-good substance that stops or lessens the pain in the area.
This type of therapy has been used to relieve back pain with some success. Around childbirth and after surgery the technique seems to help relieve symptoms of pain. For sufferers of chronic pain in the back area, TENS is a therapy they feel is worth pursuing.
Who else is a candidate for TENS therapy? Anyone who has pain and wants to try a new therapy to get rid of it may find TENS therapy helpful. It may be contraindicated if you have any type of internal defibrillator (pacemaker). Let your doctor know if you have one and they can advise you further.
Older people consider TENS therapy for treating their pain. It has many attractive advantages for them. First, the procedure has no side effects. Medicine usually comes with some sort of adverse reactions and for older folks these can be almost as bad as suffering from the pain.
Secondly, they receive pain relief that gets them moving again. If their condition requires physical rehabilitation, utilizing TENS therapy can make that possible without pain. It is non-habit forming so there is no chance of addiction.
The jury is still out on whether or not the treatment is effective. Using such a small current, the pain relief that patients may feel is temporary. It may last a few weeks or a couple of months but they will have to come back for another treatment.
Is TENS for you? Only you and your doctor can answer that. For those suffering from back pain that has changed their quality of life, this procedure can restore some pain-free movement. Examine all of your choices before deciding on how to deal with your pain.