What is meant by TENS?
TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator. It is a non-pharmacological mode of treatment that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain alleviation. It is the utilization of electric current delivered by a gadget to stimulate the nerves for restorative purposes.
TENS, by definition, covers the complete scope of transcutaneous connected streams utilized for nerve excitation in spite of the fact that the term is frequently utilized with a more prohibitive aim, to be specific to portray the sort of pulses created by compact stimulators used to treat pain.
Common Uses of TENS
It is most commonly used in the conditions of
- Chronic pain (back aches)
- Osteoarthritis mainly of knee joint
- Sports injuries
- Neck pain
- In Acute pains (labor pains and after surgery)
- Neuropathies (Diabetic Neuropathy)
- Phantom limb pains
- Cancer pain
- Tension related headaches
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Soft tissue injuries
- Muscle strains
- Ligament sprains
- Menstrual pains
How to use TENS?
TENS is a little, battery-controlled machine about the extent of a pocket radio. For the most part, you associate two terminals (wires that direct electrical current) from the machine to your skin. The electrodes are frequently set on the zone of pain or at pressure points, making a circuit of electrical impulses that goes along nerve fibers.
You can set the TENS machine for diverse wavelength frequencies, for example, an unfaltering stream of electrical current or a burst of electrical current, and for intensity of electrical current. Your physical therapist or physician more often decides these settings.
Benefits of TENS
It is believed that TENS has following benefits:
- It helps in relieving pain at both sensory levels (By blocking pain gates following the pain gate theory) and motor level (by releasing body’s natural opiates endorphins and enkephalins)
- Improves circulation
- Facilitates healing
- Decreases the use of other analgesics and pain relieving drugs
- Increases range of motion
- Improves functioning in activities of daily living
- Improves pattern of sleep
- Does not interfere in labor
- No lasting side effects
- Easy to purchase
- Noninvasive treatment
- Blocks nociceptive stimulus reaching at spinal cord and higher brain centers
- Produces body’s natural pain killers
- Reduces muscle spasms
Limitations of TENS
TENS are considered to be limited in the conditions
- When you have pacemaker implanted in your body
- Any electrical device fitted
- In pregnancy (except labor pains)
- In epilepsy
- In cardiac problems
- Broken skin
- Varicose veins
- Allergic reactions or scarring in area of skin where electrodes were placed
- During operating or driving a machine
- While taking shower or baths
- Near eyes or mouth
- In Alzheimer’s disease
- In dementia or other cognitive problems
Controversies of TENS
Controversy exists as to its adequacy in the treatment of ceaseless pain; various systematic reviews or meta-examinations have affirmed its viability for postoperative pains, osteoarthritis, and interminable musculoskeletal torment.
On the other hand, results from the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain, reported in mid-2008, demonstrated no clinically critical advantage to TENS for the treatment of neck agony when contrasted with sham treatment.