What is TENS?
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. 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 defences against pain.
Your TENS unit sends a tiny electric current into the skin through 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 the Pain Gate mode TENS provides relief while it is switched on. The effect may start to wear off after 1-2 hours. You can stop for an hour and then try again. You can use TENS several times a day.
At low-frequency settings, TENS also causes a release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, which relaxes and relieves your pain.
In Endorphin Release mode, the 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.
TENS Electrode Pad Placement
The pads are normally placed surrounding the pain and the unit transmits a stimulus through the skin, with a choice of specific therapeutic patterns. The correct positioning of the pads is important.
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Your Treatment Session
You can use TENS as much, and as often, as you need. Even continuous treatment is fine, but electrodes should be repositioned regularly (at least every 12 hours) to allow the skin to be exposed to air.
The Endorphin Release mode works better when the intensity is high enough to cause small muscle contractions. After about 20 minutes with muscle contractions, the muscle may begin to ache . If this happens you should stop the session. Best results with endorphin release are achieved at between 20 and 40 minutes.