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TENS - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation For Pain Relief

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					TENS - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation For Pain
Relief
This therapy can help relieve pain in a variety of different problem areas, including pain in the
muscles and joints, as well as chronic pain. Those suffering from sudden, acute pain can also benefit
from TENS, often in combination with exercise or other treatments.
For pain relief, TENS (an acronym that stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is
effective and safe.
How Does it Work?
TENS is administered through electrical stimuli sent to specific nerves in the skin. The electrical
currents used in the process are painless, and carry no side effects that have been recorded.
The currents stimulate nerve fibers in the skin's nerve endings (transcutaneous means through the
skin) and warm the skin. This warmth eases stiffness and increases mobility for lower amounts of
pain, and also promotes the production of hormones called endorphins. These endorphins act as
natural pain killers as well.
What Equipment is Needed for TENS?
To deliver the current to the skin, the patients uses various skin patches that direct the current to a
specific area of the skin. A current-generating pack called the stimulator creates the currents and then
the patches direct the currents to the soft tissue in the body.
These units are portable and battery powered. A patient is able to direct his or her own pain relief with
the use a stimulator by turning it on when pain relief is needed. Patients rent or purchase the units for
long term use.
A physical therapist applies the patches and coordinates the strength of the receptors and currents.
The therapist may also choose to deliver some kinds of surface, or topical, medications. Through a
technique called iontophoresis, the electrical current assures that the medication moves into the
tissue for lower levels of pain and inflammation.
What Pain Is Alleviated by Using TENS?
The technique is commonly prescribed by physicians to reduce lower back pain, arthritis pain,
myofascial pain, bladder incontinence, and pain resulting from surgery.
The system is not always effective for every pain, so a trial usage is a great idea.
What Intensity of Electrical Stimulation is Effective?
The default settings for the stimulators is a comfortable amplitude, just below the threshold of pain,
with the pulse width or duration between 10 and 1000 microseconds, and the pulse rate, or
frequency, at 80 to 100 impulses per second when the machine is set on high.
The ideal setting for each patient has to be determined by trial and error over time. In addition to the
settings on the stimulator, the patient also experiments with the location of the electrodes.
While they are often placed directly over the areas that are in pain, sometimes they are positioned
over trigger points or the primary nerves in the body, and patients report pain relief that is as great or
even greater relief than placing them on the painful area.
How Long Does the Pain Relief Last?
While it varies with each patient, the pain relief begins immediately upon use of the device, and lasts
after it is turned off.
The average patient uses the machine for thirty minutes at a time throughout the day.

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Description: To deliver the current to the skin, the patients uses various skin patches that direct the current to a