Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves sending a low-voltage electrical current from a TENS Unit to the skin. The TENS Unit stimulates nerves to eliminate the sensation of pain and promote healing. As unusual as this type of pain management may seem, it has been proven to work! Chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat. However, studies and clinical trials have found that TENS treatment has positively affected acute painwhile being a safe and effective pain relief solution.
Herniated Discs and Sciatica. Sciatica is a “nerve-related condition that can cause potentially debilitating pain.” TENS can provide a non-invasive therapy for this chronic pain condition and has yielded impressive results. Several conditions, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, can result in discomfort and inflammation of the sciatic nerve, causing it to transmit pain signals. TENS has proven to effectively reduce the degree of pain and relieve the clinical symptoms and signs of lumbar disc herniation-induced sciatica. During their initial use of TENS, about 70% to 80% of patients experience pain relief for sciatica.
How Does TENS Therapy Relieve Muscle Pain, Knots, Tightness, & Swelling?
When a specific part of the body is injured, muscles perform muscle guarding,causing muscles to tighten and swell up to protect the injured body part. Although this is our body's natural response to pain, it can become an issue if left untreated. Muscle tightness and swelling for long periods can cause a lack of blood flow, increase the risk of injury, and result in chronic pain and muscle tissue damage.
TENS Units help solve this, sending electrical pulses to the nerves and performing pain gating. The TENS Unit blocks pain signals from getting to the brain, stopping the pain. Because the pain has stopped, muscle guarding no longer occurs, creating a reaction where the muscles stop swelling, knots reduce, and then relax. The pain-reducing effects of TENS help loosen the muscle knot and lessen the “guarding”of muscles that cause tightness. This reaction increases blood flow and enables more flexibility in your muscles.
In short, TENS therapy reduces pain, stops swelling, and results in better blood flow & a more efficient healing experience!
How Does a TENS Unit for Muscle Pain Relief Work?
Using a TENS Unit for muscle pain relief is extremely simple:
Place the electrode pads on the muscle experiencing pain, knots, or tightness.
Turn your TENS unit on, keeping it at the lowest level/mode and increasing the frequency/intensity as needed. You'll start feeling your muscles relax as an effective TENS treatment occurs.
Repeat as necessary and combine with other pain treatment and management types to increase the results.
Can TENS Therapy be Used with Other Pain Treatment Options?
TENS Units work great alongside pain medication (both OTC and prescribed) and other stimulation techniques. They can also be used with hot and cold therapy (ice packs), yoga, stretching, and other forms of physical therapy.Researchers suggest that “a combination of TENS and stretching is an effective method of increasing muscle flexibility.” A TENS Unit with an ice pack can reduce swelling and inflammation if appropriately applied. Ice packs should be used directly after an injury and before the use of TENS. Combining moist heat with TENS is also a great way to relax muscles and relieve pain, as it can decrease tissue tension and spasm while “increasing tissue extensibility.”
Other stimulation techniques, such as transcranial pulsed current stimulation (tPCS), have been combined with TENS to relieve symptoms of certain disorders or conditions. In a clinical study, tPCS and TENS were “applied with a multiple electrode methodology covering the scalp, spine, and lower limb” to improve lower limb spasticity in children with spastic cerebral palsy (SCP). Additionally, TENS Units introduce benefits that other stimulation devices do not. For instance, EMS (electronic muscle stimulation) is sometimes confused with TENS, although the two are very different. EMS is more designed to "stimulate the muscle than to confuse pain signals"; therefore, it is not as effective as a TENS machine for soothing tightness, knots, and swelling.
Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.
Pain sucks. It affects millions of people each year with adverse physical and mental side effects. TENS 7000 provides tools to combat pain and let people live life on their terms, pain-free. Our TENS 7000 TENS Unit is one of the top-rated over-the-counter TENS units, having sold over two million since 2008. Stop letting aches and pain hold you back — live life on your terms.
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