What is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)?
Nerve stimulation is a drug-free method of pain relief that uses an electric current. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS, for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the nervous system) is a method in which short, low-voltage electrical impulses are aimed at a specific nerve using electrodes attached to the skin. This changes neuronal transmission and blocks the transmission of pain to the brain.
Pulse Therapy Massage
The word TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and TENS machine that has risen in popularity in recent years as an alternative to taking painkilling medications. The most well-known brand of a TENS machine is Dr. Ho, but other units such as Drive Medical Portable Dual Channel Tens unit and StimTec brands are growing in popularity.
Lightweight and Portable
Tens machines are generally small, lightweight, and portable and have two basic components - the machine itself, and the sticky pads that are stuck to the skin in the treatment area, generally on either side of where the pain is experienced. When you switch on the machine mild electrical impulses travel through the wires to the sticky pads.
The delivered electrical impulses are lower settings create a tingling sensation and at higher settings can create a twitching or spasm. For best results, start with the settings low and adjust until the tingling sensation is strong but not painful. These impulses may assist in the production of endorphins, in loosening tight muscles, in pain reductions, and in relaxation. In certain brands the battery-operated controller is so small it can fit in a pocket allowing the user to go about their day.
How does the TENS device work
A TENS machine - or neurostimulator - consists of a generator that generates electrical pulses and is connected to electrodes that are placed on the patient's skin. With the help of electrical impulses, the corresponding mechanisms for releasing heat are stimulated. There is a triple effect:
- Blocking the transmission of pain to the brain
- Stimulation of the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers)
- Improve blood circulation
Using a TENS machine is aimed at relieving pain. These are nerve, muscle, or joint pain that are often chronic and in a variety of forms (arthritis, back pain, migraines, pain in the foot, pain due to childbirth, pain after an operation, etc.).
Blocking the transmission of pain to the brain
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a treatment that blocks the transmission of pain from the peripheral nerves to the brain. It reduces spinal cord activity by sending electrical pulses along nerve fibers to block pain signals from reaching the brain. This treatment can be administered through an electrode, which is set to the nervous system, and then delivered over a low-voltage electric current. The electrodes are usually attached to a large pad on one's back. The pads have two electrodes with a grid of small contacts on each side of the pad.
Stimulation of the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers)
The TENS machine transmits impulses through electrodes and sends them to the nerve endings in your body, which causes these nerves to release endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals that we produce when we exercise or feel pleasure. They help lessen the severity of chronic pain and create a feeling of well-being.
Improve blood circulation
A TENS machine is a device that applies electrical stimulation to the body, which can help to improve blood circulation. This type of technology is often used for acute or chronic pain relief, as well as injuries that are still healing.
TENS Neck Massager
A TENS neck massage is a technique that uses electrical current to stimulate the nerve endings around the neck. The TENS neck massager is an electrotherapy device used to relieve pain by stimulating the nerves of the muscles in the neck. This treatment is most effective when pain is caused by muscle spasms due to overuse or strain, but can also be used to reduce acute or chronic back pain.
TENS Unit Electrodes
Electrode placement is a crucial part of receiving the best results from a TENS machine. There are a few factors that determine where to place the electrodes which include: location of pain, location of the injury, and pain levels.
The electrodes often stop sticking to the skin, which decreases the effectiveness of the treatment. In order to maintain a high quality treatment experience, you should clean your electrodes with alcohol each time you use them and replace them every four months.
The average life of a TENS machine electrode is 6-12 months, but it can be longer if the electrode is not used each day. The electrodes are sticky enough to stick to the top layer of skin when they are used. If you are not using the electrode every day, put it back onto the plastic film that came with it. It will stay sticky for several weeks this way.
Application of the devices
- Instruction: A thorough introduction should take place before commissioning. This can be done by a doctor or an appropriately trained specialist. The manufacturers often also provide meaningful videos.
- Attaching the electrodes: The electrodes may only be applied to healthy areas of skin. A special water-based electrode gel can be used for better adhesion. It promotes the transmission of stimuli.
- Frequency: In the beginning, the stimulation should start with a low intensity. With TENS, a current of 100 Hz is usually sufficient.
- Skin irritation: The flow of current can be felt during the application (tingling sensation). However, there should be no pain. Local irritation of the skin must also not be the result.
- Cleaning: After training, the affected areas of the skin and the device itself must be cleaned.
- Storage: The equipment must be kept child-proof and dry.
- Repetition: In principle, several units per day are possible. However, since a certain regeneration phase must always be observed, no more than two intervals per day should be practiced.
When is it NOT allowed to perform Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation?
- People with epilepsy should not receive electrical stimulation therapy.
- In patients with mental illness.
- During pregnancy.
- If you have a pacemaker or an insulin pump.
- If there is acute inflammation of joints or organs.
- In the case of previous illnesses such as a stroke, a thalamic syndrome or paraplegia, the doctor must be consulted.
- In the case of cardiac arrhythmias, the benefits as opposed to the risks must be assessed by a doctor.
- Children are not allowed to be treated on their own.
These electrodes are used for a single patient only. If skin irritation develops, discontinue use and consult a physician. Electrodes should not be placed in any location where a current will be applied to head or neck. Patients with a pacemaker or any other metallic/electric implants should consult a physician before using.
Halo Healthcare offers a wide range of TENS machine in Canada and US so you can decide which one is best for you.