A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit is a device which uses electric current to provide relief from pain. Through the use of patches for TENS unit, a small amount of electrical current is directed through the skin to nerves in the area where the person experiences pain. This action stimulates the nerves and provides pain relief. As the muscles are encouraged to relax, the pain signals are disrupted, and the body produces endorphins which are a natural painkiller.
A TENS unit can be used to reduce the symptoms of different kinds of pain from arthritis to menstrual pain. It is also a good way of relieving pain for people who are unable to take painkillers on a regular basis. Unfortunately, pain relief only occurs while the device is in use. When you turn the unit off, the pain will quickly return. The good news is that the devices are small and portable, so you can wear them while you are working or around the house. However, you should not wear a TENS device if you are driving or when you go in the bath or shower.
For best results, position the TENS unit pads carefully. The placement of electrode pads affects the effectiveness of the TENS unit. Turn the device off before you put the pads on. Place the pads around, but not on, the area that hurts. Never put the pads on your neck, your temples, near your heart, on your eyes or mouth, or on any area of skin that is broken or irritated. Also, do not put TENS pads on a part of your skin that is numb or where you have varicose veins. Make sure that the tens unit pads are clean and dry when you affix them.
Some people are afraid to use the TENS unit because they’re afraid of electric shocks. TENS treatments are generally safe and can be a good source of pain relief, however, you should always seek professional medical advice before using a TENS machine if you have a pacemaker or other medical implant, suffer from epilepsy or heart conditions, or if you are pregnant or think that you may be pregnant.
Most people tolerate TENS treatments very well. There are some people who are allergic to the TENS unit pads, but special types of electrodes made from hypoallergenic materials are available. If you have an adverse reaction to the standard pads, there is still a chance that you will be able to benefit from using a TENS machine by using these hypoallergenic pads.
When you begin using your machine, make sure that you start with a low setting, and gradually increase the power of the device until you find something that works well for you. If you find that you experience an uncomfortable tingling sensation, then reduce the power. When you are finished using the TENS unit, turn it off and remove the electrodes from your body.
Always remember to follow these directions carefully to avoid damage to the unit and most especially accidents. Consult with your physician to find out if this type of treatment can help you.