How Can TENS Help You With Your Chronic Pain?
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) sends electrical pulses through the skin to start your body’s own pain killers. The electrical pulses can release endorphins and other substances to stop pain signals in the brain.
The non-painful signals from TENS “close the gate” and prevent the pain signals from going to the brain. Imagine that these signals are two trains on separate tracks. Each of these two tracks converges into one single track that goes to the brain. The train on the right is the pain signal, and it’s headed for that single track to the brain. But, when the non-painful signal is stimulated-the train on the left-it heads for that same track to the brain, taking over the tracks and preventing the pain signal from getting through.
TENS can help with short term pain relief. It works best when used during activities, such as walking, doing chores, or exercise.
What is TENS used for?
A TENS may be used to help with many types of chronic (long-term) pain, such as:
- Arthritis or other joint pain
- Back and neck pain
- Muscle pain
- Neuropathic pain
When is it best to use TENS?
Research has shown that TENS is most helpful for chronic pain when used for at least 30 minutes while you are active. It is less effective when you are sitting still, lying down, or resting.
Do not use TENS if you have:
- A cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator
- Spinal cord stimulator
- In-dwelling pumps or monitors
- Any implanted metallic or electronic device
- Cognitive impairment
- People who are allergic to nickel and/or adhesives may have skin irritation with TENS.
When something’s wrong, your body has its own way of signaling you to pay heed by sending pain signals. Whether the pain is sudden or persistent, it’s important to react quickly. If your the problem is left untreated, there’s a chance it can become chronic over time.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine reports that an astonishing 100 million Americans suffer pain each year and more than half of pain sufferers believe they have little or no control over their pain. The good news is, you are more empowered than you might think to alleviate your pain.
Do you have acute or chronic pain?
Pinpoint your area of pain to begin your journey to recovery.
Acute pain is sudden and can last for a few minutes to many months, but often goes away when the issue is treated.
Chronic pain is persistent, and typically involves an infection, illness or injury. It will usually affect the emotional and physical well-being of individuals.