Chronic pain is something no one wants to live with. Unfortunately, many injuries aren’t fully rehabilitated. Like our patients, you would probably like to know more about pain management methods other than medications. Electrical stimulation is a valuable and accessible way to help relieve chronic pain. Read along to find out how electricity can help relieve your pain.
Treating Pain with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
When it comes to relieving pain via electricity, one treatment to consider is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or simply TENS. It is a handheld device that gives electrical impulses through electrodes attached to your skin. These small electrodes are attached by adhesive pads to your skin. These pads are typically placed on the area that hurts. Once you turn on the device, it sends electrical impulses into your skin and can potentially decrease different types of pain.
Can we adjust TENS according to the amount of pain experienced?
Yes, you can adjust the electrical flow according to the amount of pain experienced. A TENS unit has controls that allow you to change the frequency and intensity of electrical impulses. The frequency represents the number of electrical impulses you will get each second. The intensity refers to the strength of electrical impulses a patient will feel.
How does a TENS unit relieve pain?
Research shows that a TENS unit can effectively manage and relieve pain in various ways. First, the electrodes contact the skin on the surface and send electrical impulses to balance the nerve activity that sends pain signals. These pain signals travel to your spinal cord to the “dorsal horn” spot. Research has shown that a TENS unit can alleviate the pain at that spot. Furthermore, a TENS unit also involves certain parts of the brain involved in pain processing.
Types of pain TENS help treat
A TENS unit can treat acute pain, like active inflammation after a recent injury or surgery, as more acute pain can respond to electrical stimulation. For example, you can reduce the pain experienced from a swollen knee with the help of a TENS unit. Moreover, electrical stimulation can help treat chronic pain issues, such as sore necks and joint problems. You can even help with menstrual cramps, diabetic neuropathy, and endometriosis with electrical stimulation.
TENS Risk Factors
It’s advisable to discuss with your doctor before trying a TENS unit on your own. While this treatment is considered safe to use, it is not for every situation. Pain relief via electrical stimulation is not for you if you:
- are pregnant
- have a history of heart conditions or seizures
- have skin sensitivities
- use a pacemaker
Contact Pain Management Physician
If you are interested in trying out a TENS unit, we welcome you to visit Genesis Clinic. Our pain management doctors in Overland Park are experienced in finding the best frequencies and intensities for various problems. If you want to use it at home, ask your insurance company if they cover it with your doctor’s prescription. You can also buy one directly for around $30.