What is TENS & How Does it Work?
What is it?
TENS stands for:
TENS is used as a more natural pain relief alternative and can provide long-term pain relief without any unwanted side effects.
How does it work?
TENS is recommended throughout the world by pain clinics and physiotherapy departments. Not only does TENS reduce your pain, it can also help you to reduce your need for painkillers. TENS is simply a means of stimulating your body’s own natural defenses against pain.
TENS units send a tiny electric current through the skin through self-adhesive electrode pads which are usually placed near the source of the pain. This current stimulates the sensory nerves, which carry touch and temperature signals. These nerves go to the same connections in the spine as the nerves carrying pain. A strong signal in the sensory nerve releases chemicals in the spine which stop the pain signal travelling up the spine to the brain. This is known as the “Pain Gate”.
In Pain Gate modes, TENS provides relief while it is switched on. The effect may start to wear off after 1-2 hours, however, sessions can be paused for an hour and then re-started.
At low frequency settings, TENS also stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relief mechanism.
In Endorphin Release modes, pain relief builds up over as much as 40 minutes, and can last for up to 4 hours after the unit is turned off.
Most people will achieve a reduction in pain. Some find that their pain goes away completely while they are using TENS. Some users only feel better after repeated use, and over a long time period.
What are the benefits of TENS?
- You can use TENS as much, and as often, as you need. However, always ensure electrodes are re-positioned regularly (at least every 12 hours) to allow the skin to breathe.
- TENS is natural, drug-free and there are no known side effects to long term TENS use.
- TENS units are affordable, portable, discreet and easy-to-use for home use.
- TENS can be used for pain relief from a variety of conditions.
- TENS may also improve circulation, motion and function.
Always ensure you read the instructions and contraindications carefully. Consult your medical advisor before use.
TENS is recommended by NHS Choices for the treatment of:
- Frozen shoulder
- Back pain
- Period pain
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis pain and Osteoarthritis pain
- Alternative for Lumbar Decompressive Surgery
TENS can also be used as a treatment for:
- Joint pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle strains
- Secondary pain from conditions such as Endometriosis and IBS
- Pain relief during labour (in the form of Maternity TENS)