Posts Tagged ‘tens machines for pain relief’

Do TENS Machines Really Work?

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

One of the more popular drug free methods to control pain is the use of a TENS machine. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) are available without prescription and safe and easy to to use. There are a wide range of machines available for home use ranging from a simple machine for pain at around $20 to more than $300 for a dual channel machines that also includes muscle stimulation functionality.

How Does a TENS Machine Work?

Electrodes are placed on the skin (hence the name transcutaneous) and the nerves stimulated by a small electrical pulse. At a high pulse rate this has the effect of blocking the impulses that transmit pain messages to the brain. In addition a low pulse rate can be used which stimulates the production of the body’s own pain suppressing hormones, endorphins. The hand held TENS unit is used to control the intensity of the impulses, the pulse rate and the time the stimulation is applied. It is usually recommended that the unit is used for twenty minutes to thirty minutes during which time the pain is blocked by the electrical impulses. Pain relief however persists after switching off the unit due to the production of endorphins.

What Type of Pain Does a TENS Machine Block?

The most effective use of these machines is for the relief of chronic pain from joints, muscles or nerves and is not recommended for pain from other conditions such as appendicitis, hepatitis etc. For those with chronic pain that require strong drugs for relief TENS can be very effective and is a good alternative to increasing the level of painkillers required.

Can You Use TENS During Labor?

TENS is becoming increasingly popular as a non drug method to help control labor pain. The electrodes are placed on the back and the intensity controlled by the woman in labor. As the level of pain during labor increases the intensity of the stimulation can be increased accordingly giving her complete control. During labor the machine is often used in two ways. During a contraction a high pulse rate is used to block the pain and between contractions a lower pulse rate is used to stimulate endorphin production which in turn helps to lower the pain of contractions. TENS can be used right from the beginning of labor, before the pain has increased in order to stimulate endorphin production. This is more effective than waiting until labor is more advanced. One caution we should mention here is that the use of TENS machines before the 37th week of pregnancy has not been shown to be safe for the developing fetus so should not be used.

How Safe is TENS?

Using a TENS machine is safe provided you follow the safety guidelines. You should not use this method if you have epilepsy or have a heart pacemaker as the electrical stimulation can disrupt it. If you have pain then you should always consult a physician to diagnose the cause before you use TENS. It should not be used for pain from underlying medical conditions such as appendicitis or for anyone who has heart disease unless recommended by your physician.

Never use the electrodes:

In the mouth
on the groin
on broken skin or wounds
on each temple
close to the eyes or on the head
on areas of skin that are numb or desensitized

The use of a TENS machine is a safe, effective, non drug method of relief from chronic pain. Always make sure your pain has been diagnosed by a qualified medical practitioner before you use TENS and follow the safety guidelines that are issued with your machine.

TENS Machines

Home use of TENS units

Monday, October 24th, 2011

TENS unit therapy is easily one of the best ways to help ease pain. They are great because of their ease of use and portability; you can relieve your chronic pain at home. Most commonly, TENS units are used to treat injuries, osteoarthritis and chronic pain. You may have used a TENS machine if you have ever had physical therapy or been treated for pain relief at a chiropractors office. Home TENS use is a relatively new adaptation of technology. They are a safe and non-invasive way to relieve pain. I suggest getting approval as well as advice from a licensed physician.

Let’s look at the basics behind TENS. A TENS Unit relieves pain by sending electrical impulses by way of small electrodes placed on the skin. When used properly, it doesn’t hurt, if it does or muscles get to twitching, then the settings are too high. These electrical impulses send signals to nerve endings under the skin and on to the brain. The signal that gets sent to the brain reduces the feeling of pain and creates a tingling sensation. Many people use home tens units to reduce consumption of pain medication. Pain killers have multiple side effects, whereas, TENS units have none, so this makes them a healthier way to manage pain.

If you’re like me and are against using pain medicine, a home tens unit works great. My portable tens unit is small enough that you can use it in the car, on breaks at work, and pretty much anywhere. The portability of TENS pain relief is a huge advantage over traditional pain relief measures.

You can also choose a combination  with electrical muscle stimulation. TENS and muscle stimulators (EMS) are similar in that they both use electrical nerve stimulation to treat various injuries and conditions. Muscle stimulators work mostly for healing and rebuilding muscle. TENS is a way to temporarily ease pain. A TENS machine stimulates nerve endings and the muscle stimulator stimulates the muscle motor nerves. The combination of the two can’t be beat as far as cost and health; convenience and pain management are concerned.

Brands of Home TENS Units

Home TENS units are cost effective and can be used every day several times a day as needed. You will get plenty of use out of them and this one thing alone makes them cost effective. Prices start under $100 and go up to several hundred depending on features.

Lg Med Supply has a portable tens unit for $105 that combines both TENS and EMS. It comes with both battery and AC adapter, carrying case, belt clip, 8 programs, intensity control, pulse rate, adjustable pulse width and 3 year warranty. The warranty is 100% money back satisfaction and you can’t beat that. Rated 5 stars on Amazon with all positive reviews.

Lg Med Supply also has a home TENS unit- EMS combo for $80 that isn’t as strong in intensity as the one above with less features. It too, has all positive reviews with a 5 star rating, so if you want to compare the two just check them out on Amazon for more details.

Home TENS unit therapy is an excellent non-invasive method of pain management as long as you invest in a quality unit and use them as instructed.