TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, which is a pain relief therapy utilizing low-voltage electrical current. Usually, a TENS Unit comes with a small, battery-powered machine, and users connect the two electrodes to the skin area in pain. But when it comes to using electricity to ease the pain, there has been a great controversy. Most experts, however, achieved on a consensus that it’s safe to use TENS Units, if not misused.
Provided by: wikimedia.org
Benefits of using a TENS Unit
The TENS machine was once exclusive for medical institutes. These days, as the TENS Units become more affordable, it is popular in home use. These are five major benefits of using a TENS Unit for pain treatment.
As the primary mechanism of a TEN Unit is to impulse the low electrical current to the muscles, it stimulates the release of endorphins in our body. As a result, it can aid in alleviating the pain. Especially for the pain from the back to the arm, it can offer substantial pain relief naturally.
Retrain the nerves
More than often the pain or impairment in movement is the results of nerve damage. And in these circumstances, nerve’s failure to send and receive the signals will lead to the tension in the whole body. TEN Units triggers muscle retraining with its electrical impulse. Eventually, it helps the patients to correct the function of the nerve, facilitating the process of gaining mobility.
Massage the muscles
Many TENS Unit users have been using this machine as a massager. The TENS Unit follows different pulse pattern by user’s setting to provide the massage. Specifically, the intensity will rise, lower, and intensify to offer immense massage to the muscles internally.
A study from the University of Washington proved that the usage of TEN Units could help the muscle fibers with inflammation. Besides offering relief to muscle fibers, TENS Unit also provides great relief on sciatica, pinched nerves, and degeneration of discs.
For patients, fear often accompanies when they do the mundane tasks. And thus it may take longer to rehabilitate. In these cases, a TENS Unit can interfere and help to eliminate the phobia. And by facilitating in reducing the pain and inflammation, it reduces the rehabilitation time.
What you should note when choosing a TENS Unit
When choosing for a TENS Unit, it’s recommendable to look at the numbers representing the output intensity and their settings. Notice the mA numbers as they demonstrate the strength of the electrical impulses that the unit is using. The higher the numbers are, the more immense the effect it can deliver to the affected areas.
It’s advisable to notice the rechargeability of the battery. Some units come with a removable and rechargeable battery; some others do not. As common sense, those with these features in the battery will be at a little bit higher price range. However, please note that their long-term saving may be greater than those without these features in the battery.
Put in mind the portability when considering your usage of a TENS Unit. Do you want to have one to use at home or on the go? Depending on your preference, opt for the one that fits it. Specifically, small and battery-powered units are ideal to use at work, during the workouts, or any on-the-go situations.
Many TENS Units has the treatment timer as an extra feature. But it’s worth to take a look at when choosing a unit. This feature allows users to set the time for the treatment. And the unit will automatically turn off the time runs out. Thus, it’s ideal to have this feature in a TENS Unit.
OTC or Prescription?
To put it simply, the registration with FDA is the only thing that distinguishes between Prescription and Over-The-Counter devices. Over-The-Counter devices require FDA approval to be in use in medical institutes and at home. And the prescription devices do not need to be under this approval.
It’s good to have many output channels in a TENS Unit. But again, depending on user’s preference and usage extent, one may opt for a single or dual TENS Unit. For example, for smaller body parts like ankles, wrists, and elbow, using two electrode pads is enough. But if you want to reduce the pain in larger body parts like shoulder or back, it’s ideal to have a four-pad TENS Unit.
The bottom line
Using a TENS Unit is beneficial for pain treatment. However, one should elaborate on its features when choosing a unit to use. And by articulating on its feature highlights, buyers can determine if it is a good value for their money and if it will really help in their treatment and rehabilitation.