Transcutaneous (through the skin) Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) sends a painless electrical current to specific nerves. The physical therapist applies electrode patches to the skin in the area to be treated. The mild current runs from the TENS machine through wires to these patches. The current may be delivered intermittently. The mild electrical current generates heat that serves to relieve stiffness, improve mobility, and relieve pain. The treatment is believed to stimulate the body's production of endorphins or natural pain killers and has been used to treat a variety of pain conditions. Success rates range greatly due to many factors including electrode placement, chronicity of the problem, and previous treatments.
It is generally used in chronic pain conditions and not indicated in the treatment of acute low back pain. The portable stimulator is a small battery-operated device that can be worn around the waist. The unit can be turned on or off as needed for pain control. Although these units can be purchased or rented, a prescription from a physician is required. The physical therapist is often the person to teach the patient how to use the device including proper placement of the electrodes for optimal benefits. TENS may also be used with other treatments such as exercise. Physical therapists may apply TENS to your injury site to help decrease your pain while you participate in the physical therapy routine. They may also use TENS to help decrease your pain just after you participate in a physical therapy routine.
Note: Patients with pacemakers should avoid TENS because the electrical current could interfere with the operation of a pacemaker. *******
Functions for Pain Relief
1. TENS signals heading to the brain is faster than the pain so that the painful
feeling is lightened.
2. TENS stimulates the brain to secrete endorphin flowing into the blood and the
spinal fluid, and then relieves the pain.
Tens helps with
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