Posts Tagged ‘tens unit’

Metal Implants and Tens Units For Pain

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Is there or should there be a concern for patient who have had metal implants inserted and then start using a tens or interferential unit?

This is a question that has been asked many times over the past half century as both the field of implant technology improved as did the field of electrotherapy for pain, rehab., and non union fractures. The question is a fair one to ask not only from a safety perspective but also from the other angle of does an implant enhance the efficacy of an external tens stimulator or interferential machine.

Basically the implant is outside the electrical field of a tens unit so there is no effect generally. Also many new composites for implants do not have metal or electrically conductive materials in them so over the next few years the question may become moot. Tens units are powered by a 9 volt battery and lack enough energy to penetrate deeply into the tissues but with the advent of Interferential for home use the chances of interference become more pragmatic.

A tens/tns unit emits no more than 150 pulses per second ( how many times the unit goes off and on per second - pps/rate/freqeuncy ) however an interferential unit has a pps between 8,000 and 8,150 pps with greater penetration. The higher frequency and greater output bring into play the depth of penetration issue and does an underlying metal object help or hurt the treatment.

Most tens and interferential devices are used principally for the control, or elimination, of chronic pain such as sciatica, RSD, neuralgia, phantom limb pain etc. The treatment with interferential though is for short periods of time due to the interferential unit providing ” carryover pain relief ” or residual pain relief. The interferential unit is not generally worn by a chronic pain patient, unlike tens which only provides relief while being used.

To date there are not any true safety issues brought on by the use of interferential or tens units with patients having implanted metal devices. The single issue has been does the stimulation cause any degree of discomfort to the patient while being treated and if so the practical answer is to move the electrodes so the implant will not interfere with the sensory relief provided by the interferential or tens unit. It’s possible if the pain area is near the implant that the conductivity of the materials used may actually enhance the pain relief.

When an interferential unit is used for home use it is generally assumed the short treatment period versus the continual treatment with tens lessens the potential of implant interference with an interferential unit.

Source:ezinearticles.com

TENS Pain Relief - What is Involved in TENS Pain Relief?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

What is TENS pain relief and how does it relate to someone in pain? TENS is an acronym for a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit. A TENS unit is a portable, pocket-sized, battery-powered device that uses mild, safe electrical signals to help control pain. One of these units can treat many kinds of pain. A modern TENS pain unit is easy to use and compact enough to provide quick and dependable pain relief at work, home or play.

The electrical signals travel from the TENS unit through wires to the electrodes which are attached to your body. The electrode wires are then plugged into the unit. The unit is then hooked to your belt or placed in a pocket. For some chronic pain patients, TENS pain relief can last for several hours. For others, a TENS pain unit may help reduce the amount of pain medications needed.

A TENS pain unit is one of several kinds of electrotherapy devices that use very small doses of electric current to promote natural pain relief. A typical battery-operated TENS unit is able to modulate pulse width, frequency and intensity. When the unit is turned on, it delivers a light current through the electrodes to the skin and tissues just beneath it.

The unit emits low - voltage electrical pulses through electrodes attached to the body. The TENS unit works by preventing pain signals from reaching your brain. Depending on the frequency the unit delivers, the electrical stimulation can also trigger the body to release endorphins, which are natural pain killers. A physical therapist can help you determine the most appropriate settings for your unit.

Do not turn your TENS unit up too high as this can cause over-stimulation which may make pain worse. Do not get into water or sleep with the electrodes on your skin and the TENS unit turned on. If you wear a pacemaker check with your physician before using a TENS unit as this may interfere with the pacemaker’s function.

TENS units can be purchased or rented. The cost of a unit can range from about $100 to several hundred dollars. A TENS pain unit should only be used under the direction of a doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist.

If you suffer from chronic back pain, arthritis, tendinitis, aches and pain, poor circulation, sciatic nerve pains, headaches, migraines and other discomforts a TENS unit may help relieve some of your pain. TENS pain relief is not a cure, it simply gives the impression of experiencing less pain. These units are widely used in the physical therapy field to help patients control their pain while they rehabilitate their muscles. TENS pain relief units are considered safe when used properly and have helped many people.

Source:ezinearticles.com

Using A Tens Machine For Pain Relief

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

As more and more alternative medicine is becoming popular, it’s not surprising that people would shy away from drugs to ease their pain and look for something that isn’t as likely to have side effects. The TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine is one of the more popular methods for easing pain and can now be found easily on the market.

While TENS can aid with all types of pain relief, it is particularly popular among those who suffer from chronic pain and who are usually becoming resistant to pharmaceutical painkillers. Using stronger and stronger drugs in order to make it through the day doesn’t mesh with everyone’s philosophy and that’s why they start looking for alternatives like TENS.

How It Works
Essentially, TENS machines work by shooting electrical pulses through electrodes that are attached to the skin. These pulses interrupt the electrical signals that are sent to the brain to let it know that your body is hurting. By interrupting them, the pain is eased or even eliminated.

There are two ways the TENS machine is thought to work:

Low Frequency: The lower frequencies, 2-5 Hz, are believed to cause the body to react. The reaction creates natural painkillers, or endorphins. The endorphins block the pain naturally and while popular, this isn’t the usual method of using TENS.

High Frequency: For more intense pain, higher frequencies, 90-130 Hz, work to actually interrupt those pain signals being sent to the brain. This is the most common use for the machine and while you start slow, it’s not uncommon to need to up the frequency to find the best block.

How to Use It
Your machine should come with detailed instructions, which should be followed. However, there are some general use instructions that we can list here. Make sure the machine is off before applying the electrodes. You can test to ensure that it’s working by turning it on while holding the pads in your fingers. If it tingles, it’s working.

When putting the electrode pads on, be sure to avoid any sensitive or irritated areas and only apply to clean skin on either side of the pain. Electrodes need to be covered in conductive gel and must be placed at least an inch apart, preferably a little further. Tape them down if you plan to be moving around much. Turn the machine on at its lowest setting and gradually turn it up until you can feel the tingle.

You will need to feel a fairly strong sensation, but not painful. If the current causes muscles to contract, turn it down. The length of the session is up to you. It will need to be at least 45-60 min. but you can safely use the machine for up to 12 hours. At the end of the session, turn it off and remove the pads.

Who Can Use TENS
This technology isn’t best for everyone. Some people get more of a benefit than others and some won’t notice much of a difference in pain levels at all when using TENS. Also, if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker, epilepsy or a heart disease, you should stay away from this type of treatment. In some cases, TENS is used during labor, but in this case, you would need to consult a doctor.

As an alternative pain treatment, you’ll find that this works best on muscle pains, or those in the joints or caused by nerves. The electrical pulses are far less effective on things like headaches, chest pains or stomachaches and intestinal issues. That being said, there aren’t any real side effects from the use of this machine, so you can certainly experiment to find out whether or not it works for you. TENS can be a useful alternative to drugs. It’s worth trying if you suffer from chronic pain.

Source: articlesnatch.com

TENS vs. Muscle Stimulator: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

You’ve probably heard a lot about muscle stimulators recently and chances are, you’ve heard TENS being mentioned, as well. They are both commonly advertised machines that you can get easily for home use. But what is the difference between these two treatments? If you aren’t sure about this then you won’t be able to make the best purchase decision.

The main difference between the two is that a muscle stimulator is used to cause muscle contraction, while TENS focuses on nerve stimulation and tries to avoid contracting the muscles. Both use electrical pulses to do their job, but have different purposes.

TENS
The main use of a TENS machine is for pain relief, particularly in the case of chronic pain. It is most often used for joint or muscle pain that won’t go away, but can also be used to help treat nerve problems without resorting to drugs. It isn’t uniformly effective, that is, different people will have different results. For some, TENS electrical pulses interrupt the pain signals so effectively that they are literally without pain. For others, the relief is nearly non-existent, but most commonly, this treatment provides considerable relief from the chronic pain that haunts the user.

On occasion, with medical consent, the TENS can be used at the end of pregnancy, to help alleviate the pains associated with early labor. Since this is only recommended with a doctor’s permission, it’s not a good idea to try this without checking first. TENS can be used for up to 12 hours and consists of two small electrodes that are placed on either side of the area where the pain originates. The higher frequencies tend to block the pain signals, while much lower frequencies will stimulate the body to produce endorphins which naturally reduce pain.

Muscle Stimulation
This is a very similar machine to the TENS, also using two electrodes to send electrical pulses through the body. However, the purpose is quite different. Here, the purpose is to cause the muscles to contract and the reason has nothing to do with pain relief. Muscle stimulation has been found to be an effective method of training the muscles. The electrical impulses mimic those of the brain to tell muscles to move. There are two main reasons to use a muscle stimulator.

Training: Using electrical stimulation for training purposes is very useful. It allows the person to focus on specific muscle groups by choosing the right frequency and will work just those muscles, working them and conditioning them. This is particularly useful for aesthetic purposes.

Medical: When it comes to therapeutic use, electrical pulses can be used to stimulate muscles that are not being used. This can keep them conditioned and prevents atrophying. It’s a useful measure in medical situations.

Both TENS machines and muscle stimulators have their uses, but they are very different in their reasons for being used. If you are looking for an alternative to standard pain relief, then the TENS machine is what you should be looking at. However, for the prevention of atrophied muscles and to define specific muscle groups, the muscle stimulator is the way to go.

Now that you know the difference between these two different types of therapies, you’ll be able to choose the correct one. These machines can be bought for home use and you can safely use them yourself, as long as you follow the directions and take care not to use them if you have heart problems or a pacemaker.

Source: content4reprint.com

Using TENS to Relieve Pain: What is TENS and How Does it Work?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

TENS is a contemporary, non-pharmaceutical pain relief treatment. The word “TENS” is actually an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator.

Its full name can be a little bit misleading, since many people associate “electrical” with shock and shock therapy. In reality, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator treatment, which is delivered through the use of a TENS unit, delivers a mild pulsing sensation, not shock.

TENS units are devices which deliver low levels of electrical currents topically (through the skin.)  The device creates a series of pulsing sensations.  The frequency and intensity of the pulses are controlled through knobs and/or buttons.  The electrical pulses are delivered from the device to the skin through the use of electrodes.  These electrodes are connected by wire to the TENS unit and applied to the skin, directly over the place where the pain relief is needed.

Depending on the nature of the injury or illness, doctors and therapists may start patients on a very low frequency and intensity of pulses.  They may gradually increase that level if the patient is comfortable and the condition warrants it.  Some units can actually be controlled by the patient, who can adjust the level him/herself to a level that is comfortable and provides the most benefit.

The length of the treatment itself often depends on the nature of the injury/illness.  A typical course of treatment for acute pain (i.e. post-op pain or accident injury) lasts for 6-8 weeks, with two to three sessions per week.  Individual sessions may last for ten to twenty minutes, and may be adjusted depending on the effectiveness of the treatment and the progress of healing.  TENS pain relief treatment for chronic pain (i.e. MS, arthritis) may be delivered on an ongoing and as-needed basis.

This therapy may be prescribed to alleviate pain from a range of illnesses or injuries.  TENS therapy may be prescribed for treatment of both chronic (pain that is recurrent, such as pain from osteoarthritis) and acute pain (pain that is the result of an injury that hasn’t healed completely.) It has been used to treat tissue and muscle damage (i.e. from a car accident or sports injury), pain resulting from surgery, strains (i.e. neck, back), tendonitis, arthritis and more.

There is conflicting information on the effectiveness of TENS pain relief treatment.  Research has only been conducted on a few specific types of pain, and in most of these cases has been shown to be moderately to highly effective.  Effectiveness usually depends upon the nature of the illness/injury, and the overall health and fitness of the individual patient.

TENS therapy has become a fairly routine form of treatment for pain and rehabilitation after an accident or operation.  A majority of patients who receive TENS therapy report at least a small level of pain relief.  Many find the treatment very effective, and most physical therapists agree that it may significantly shorten the duration of healing.  It is also an excellent alternative to drug treatments, especially when used on a regular basis during recovery.

TENS units are found in two basic types.  They may be found in the form of a home device, which patients can use in their own homes as needed (or prescribed) rather than requiring a doctor’s or therapist’s visit.  These units typically deliver lower levels of electricity and pre-programmed programs of treatment.

The other type of TENS unit is more complex.  It usually has the potential to deliver higher electricity levels than home unitsPsychology Articles, and therefore must be administered under the supervision of a doctor or therapist.

Source: articlesfactory.com