You may have some reservations about any treatment that involves electric stimulations. However, electrical nerve stimulation is a relatively simple procedure that may help alleviate chronic pain issues. If you do not want to take many medications to get your pain under control, using a TENS unit is a great option to use.
Electrical nerve stimulation is also known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS is a therapy that uses an electric current to interfere with the nerve impulses that produces the pain sensation. The electrodes are placed on or near the area of pain. It is battery-powered so you should not worry that you can be adversely harmed by the unit. It is noninvasive and does not require any medication. The electrical stimulation is thought to trigger a release of natural painkillers in the body as well to add to the pain relieving effect.
There are two different electric nerve stimulation types: peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS). The PNS is used to send electric pulses to the nerves while the SCS is directed to the spinal cord.
Depending on the location of the pain, your healthcare professional will do either a PNS or a SCS. The treatment will not produce any pain in itself; it will feel more like a tingling sensation when the electric impulses are entering the nerve.
There is no dosage limitation so you are able to control the amount of pain relief at any given time. An experienced healthcare professional would be able to give you more information about the therapy.
Conditions That May Respond To TENS
TENS is used to relieve pain caused by a variety of chronic conditions, including:
• failed back surgery syndrome
• neck pain
• lower back pain
• neuralgia from shingles
• chronic pain syndromes
• TMJ pain
• nerve-related pain or numbness
• osteoarthritis and arthritis
• phantom pain from amputation
How Well Does It Work?
Studies have shown electric nerve stimulation to be helpful for people with chronic pain such as failed back surgery syndrome as well as complex regional pain syndrome. Research has shown that SCS is an option to help with chronic low back pain. Another study shows that more than half of the patients in the study receiving SCS found relief from the pain from conditions such as ischemic leg pain, chronic low back and leg pain, and CRPS. It has been found that PNS may help in certain types of chronic pain conditions like peripheral nerve pain or even pain after surgery.
Benefits of TENS
Benefits for having transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation are as follows:
• Control over the pain relief by deciding when it is needed.
• Portability, so it allows the patient to resume normal daily activities.
• Travel is an option when pain relief goes with the patient. The patient will need to be sure not to sit for prolonged hours at a time.
• Doing the things that a person enjoyed before the pain, like walking, swimming, and having fun with the kids.
• A better outlook on life from less stress from the pain, better peace of mind, and an overall improvement on the quality of life.