TENS Unit Benefits
A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit, or TENS Unit, is a device that produces gentle electrical pulses through two or more pads that are placed onto the body. These pulses help reduce the feeling of pain in the area they are placed by stimulating the body produce natural pain relievers called endorphins.A TENS unit is available with two or four leads. The end of each lead has a replaceable electrode pad that attaches to the skin via a band-aid like adhesive. Small electrical pulses are passed between the pads though the patient’s skin. The nerve fibers under the skin react to the electrical stimulation and decrease the amount of pain signals sent to the brain. The most evident benefit is that the patent can control where the pads are placed and control the intensity of the electrical stimulation.
A TENS unit will affect everyone differently. Some feel immediate relief when the device is connected and running. Others may only achieve relief after repeated treatment over time. Still others have reported a lingering effect of the treatment that can last days. The unit can be attached to any part of the body that exhibits pain with the exception of the temples and over the heart.
A TENS Unit is often used to help with acute postoperative pain and chronic pain such as arthritis. Other studies using T.E.N.S. units include dealing with dental pain. During long, painful dental procedures, a team of dentists used T.E.N.S. units to help dull the pain. Patients were more likely to follow up with returning visits when T.E.N.S. units were used. This would indicate less pain for the patient. A study by the University of Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine shows that T.E.N.S. units can reduce inflammation of muscle tissue and help treat the pain from pinched nerves, spinal disc degeneration and sciatica.
Another study by Ottawa General Hospital in Ontario, Canada used T.E.N.S. units to help treat knee pain. The objective of the study was to determine the best application of T.E.N.S. units in treating pain. Patient relief was measurable and better knee control was observed in most patients, especially when used with alternating levels of pulse stimulation.
How can a TENS Unit benefit you directly? If you have chronic pain, particularly in the joints or lower back, purchasing and using a T.E.N.S. unit according to the directions provided by the manufacturer can help reduce the amount of pain you feel in your body. How well it works depends on the individual, but studies have shown that a T.E.N.S. unit is an effective tool in managing pain.
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