Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)- A Complete Overview

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

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TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is a pain-relieving method you will commonly encounter at physiotherapy clinics in Brampton. The procedure involves a small electrical device which sends low-voltage electric impulses to the affected area. The process is pain-free though some people may feel a slight harmless twitch in the muscles. It helps relieve a wide array of conditions that cause pain and muscle spasms. 

What is a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) Unit?

The TENS unit is a small device that runs on a battery. It is connected to sticky pads (electrodes) which transmit the current through the surface of your skin to the affected area. 

The physiotherapist attaches the pads to your skin. They switch the unit on and small electrical impulses reach the injured part of your body. 

These electrical impulses comprise low voltage and hence are painless. 

The electrical current interrupts the pain signals between your spinal cord and brain. Thus, they change the perception of pain in your brain. 

There are different types of TENS units available over the counter. So, you should consult with an experienced physiotherapist first to know the right type for your condition.

How Does it Work?

Are you planning to opt for TENS therapy? Then it is better to know how it works in the first place. 

The device is generally very small. You can compare it with your smartphone. It consists of electrodes, sticky pads and wires. 

Here’s how the device works:

  • The device has the electrodes at one end and the pads at the other end. 
  • The pads can stick directly to your skin. 
  • So, the therapist puts the pads along the nerves of your affected area. 
  • They then switch it on which transmits electrical energy pulses. 

They can also adjust the duration, frequency and intensity of the pulses to ensure that the electrical impulses feel comfortable but effective. Duration denotes the number of microseconds the current touches the skin for each pulse. Frequency is the number of electrical pulses per second. 

What are the Benefits of TENS Therapy?

You can use TENS therapy to treat a wide range of conditions such as:

  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Low back pain 
  • Bursitis 
  • Neck pain 
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Tendinitis 

Healthcare practitioners suggest TENS therapy for the above-mentioned conditions because it is non-invasive and effective. You can use it along with other treatments or alone, depending on how severe your injury is. 

It is suggested that you consult with a physiotherapist first to know if TENS therapy is right for you in the first place. Though the machine is safe, there is a right way to use it. Also, it may not be safe for pregnant women or people with heart disease or epilepsy.

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