As a pain management tool or a muscle relaxant, TENS Therapy, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy, uses mild electrical impulses as an alternative to drugs. TENS Therapy is approved by the FDA, is covered by many insurance carriers, and has been prescribed by doctors as a safe, reliable pain management system for decades.
TENS Therapy gently stimulates nerves and blocks pain signals before they can be received by the brain. It is especially popular in elderly patients, who may be severely affected by side effects from strong prescription medications; however, it may be used by anyone suffering from pain. TENS Therapy is generally used to relieve back pain, but many types and causes of pain may benefit from it, including arthritis.
Some people are a bit apprehensive about receiving TENS Therapy. The sensation produced by the TENS machine is relaxing rather than painful and the current used for stimulation is very low. In the event that the machine is turned up too high, the patient may experience minor discomfort in the form of tensing muscles. The sensation is comparable to receiving too much pressure during a massage. If this occurs, the setting can be adjusted quickly and easily.
Since the intensity of the impulses rises and falls, a patient may adjust to it after a few cycles if he or she is able to relax. If not, the patient should certainly inform the therapist and ask for a lower setting. The therapist should always ensure that the proper setting has been achieved and is comfortable for the patient, before leaving the room. A good therapist will come back intermittently to check on the patient and make sure the setting is still comfortable.
For those that acquire a TENS machine for personal use, the setting should be determined by the doctor. The machine must only be used as prescribed. If you suffer from chronic pain, but prefer to treat it without the use of drugs, ask your doctor if TENS Therapy is right for you.