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How Do I Choose the Best Electrical Stimulation Devices?

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  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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There are several factors that should be considered when selecting the best electrical stimulation devices for your needs, including the doctor's preference, the unit's manufacturer and the special and safety features of the device. Many people are prescribed these electrical stimulation machines, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units, to help combat the effects of chronic pain. This type of battery-operated device delivers electrical impulses to affected muscle and soft tissue through specially made pads attached to the device. Studies have shown that these electrical impulses disrupt the nerves' ability to communicate pain to the brain and can promote healing. These devices have been used successfully to treat a wide variety of conditions and injuries, especially of the back, hips, shoulders and thigh regions.

Electrical stimulation devices typically are available only through a licensed medical doctor or chiropractor or with a legitimate prescription from an approved medical professional. In most cases, the prescribing doctor likely will have a specific type of electrical stimulation device in mind, but he or she might offer patients a few models from which to choose. Some units offer special features that might be useful for treating certain conditions. When selecting these units, it might be important to be sure that the model prescribed is covered by the patient's health insurance.

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As with prescription medication and other health aids, the manufacturer has a lot to do with how well this type of equipment works. When choosing from the many electrical stimulation devices available, medical experts suggest paying attention to the manufacturer. Of course, your doctor will have plenty of opinions on the subject, but as a patient, it is possible to find additional information directly from the manufacturer and consumer awareness organizations. The manufacturer's website can provide product specifics, and consumer reviews are helpful for understanding how effective the product has been for other patients.

Another element to consider when choosing the right electrical stimulation devices is the available safety and special features. Most electrical stimulation devices are designed to shut off if a malfunction occurs, which helps eliminate accidental and painful mishaps. The unit will not work unless the wires and pads are placed properly as well. It is advisable to choose a unit with special features, such as a carrying case or the ability to adjust the strength of the electrical impulse. This is especially useful when the unit is used to treat several areas of the body.

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