Monthly Archives: July 2014

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation For Chronic Pain

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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

•    headache/migraine

•    neuralgia from shingles

•    chronic pain syndromes

•    sciatica

•    TMJ pain

•    nerve-related pain or numbness

•    osteoarthritis and arthritis

•    phantom pain from amputation

•    fibromyalgia

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. Las Vegas Pain Management DoctorsResearch 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.

Fibromyalgia And Treatment Options For You

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Fibromyalgia is a condition that has been a fairly new diagnosis but many people have suffered with it for many years. It is a musculoskeletal disorder that is known to bring about chronic pain in the individual who has it. Fibromyalgia patients are apt to have pain and tender points in certain areas of the body, such as the neck, back, shoulders, hips, arms, and legs. These tender points may present themselves in other parts of the body, too.

Causes

It is believed that a miscommunication between the brain and the body and it results in chronic pain. The patients with fibromyalgia have pain receptors that are overly sensitive to nerve or pain sensations. The exact cause for fibromyalgia is unknown, but it seems that after surgery, an infection, or some type of physical trauma brings on the condition. Not all people with fibromyalgia can even think of the event that may have triggered their disorder. Women are more likely to have fibromyalgia. It is found that it can run in families.

Treatment

There is no cure for the condition, but diligent symptom control will allow a patient to have a normal life. The ultimate goal is to manage the pain and adopt lifestyle changes that will alleviate some of the symptoms. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are not progressive, so a person can expect that the pain will not worsen.

No single treatment is successful for everyone, so it is very individualized. Most patients pain doctors las vegaswill utilize several different types of treatments to achieve symptom control. This includes medication, self-care, and alternate therapies.

– Medication: There are many over-the-counter medications that your doctor may recommend for you. Sometimes prescription medications may be prescribed and/or physical therapy.

– OTC: acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)

– Prescription: Tramadol

– Antidepressants: Cymbalta, Elavil, Prozac, and Effexor for pain, fatigue, and insomnia.

– Anti-seizure medication: Gabapentin or Lyrica to reduce pain.

– Self-Care: There may be a need for dietary changes as some foods aggravate pain or irritable bowel syndrome in some patients. New exercise regimens may be suggested by the primary physician as well as dietary supplements. Here are some other self-care interventions:

– hot or cold packs in areas that are aching or painful

– gentle stretches that helps with flexibility and encourages blood circulation

– practicing good posture

– avoiding alcohol

– going to bed and get up at the same time each morning to establish a good sleep routine

– daily relaxation techniques

– managing physical and emotional stress

– limiting overexertion

– stress management activities

– Alternative Treatments: Many patients report having achieved benefits while participating or using alternative treatments. Most of them are not harmful in any way plus they offer stress relief. Pain can be worse with stress so alleviate stress will help minimize the pain experienced in many cases. Try some or all of the alternative treatments available:

– acupuncture

– meditation

– acupressure

– herbal medicine

– chiropractic

– myofascial release therapy

– osteopathic manipulation

– yoga

– tai chi

– aromatherapy

– massage therapy

– biofeedback