What is pain?
Pain is the body’s natural warning system and is intended to prevent additional injury. Pain is important because without it, vital parts of our body might be damaged or injured without our knowledge. Long-lasting persistent pain, however, (often called chronic pain) once diagnosed serves no apparent purpose. It can ruin a person’s ability to be productive and enjoy life.
How is chronic pain treated?
Chronic pain has been treated with ointments, surgery and drugs with varying degrees of success. Since each person and pain condition is different, no single treatment will work best for everyone. Many of these treatments have harmful side effects. Drugs can cause dependency, while surgery carries its own risk. TENS on the other hand offers a unique alternative method to pain relief.
What is TENS?
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) is a type of electrotherapy equipment that works by sending small electrical pulses through the skin via ten unit electrodes to the underlying peripheral nerves. TENS is thought to work in two ways. First, “high frequency” continuous, mild, electrical activity blocks the pain signal traveling to the brain. Brain cells perceive pain. If the pain signal does not get through to the brain, the pain is not “felt.” The second way is by stimulating the body’s own natural pain-control mechanism. “Low frequency” or short bursts of mild electrical activity cause the body to release its own pain easers called beta endorphins. Ask your doctor or clinician for more details on this type of electrotherapy equipment.
Are TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) devices safe?
YES. Although the thought of electrical impulses being sent into the body may seem frightening at first, all you really feel is a slight vibrating sensation through the tens unit electrode. Unlike many drugs, TENS devices have no known side effects and there are many tens unit electrodes to choose from for varying skin types.
Who can’t use TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) devices?
Individuals with a pacemaker or patients who are pregnant should not use a TENS device. Consult your doctor or clinician first to find out if this type of electrotherapy equipment is right for you.
Will a TENS device work for me?
It depends on your specific pain problem. TENS devices have been successfully used to achieve pain relief in many pain conditions.
Chronic Pain Acute Pain
- Cervical (neck)
- Muscle and joint
- Phantom limb
- Lower back
- Tennis elbow
- Leg pain
Is a TENS device difficult to use?
No. A TENS device is about the same size as a cell phone and is easy to use. Your doctor or clinician will instruct you on how to use your TENS device and how to apply the TENS unit electrodes. You may have to make minor adjustments from time to time, but this is easily done.
How expensive are TENS devices?
When compared with the cost of surgery or continuing expense of drug therapy, a TENS device is a very cost-effective means of treatment.
Does my insurance policy cover the cost of purchasing a TENS device?
Because TENS treatment is a proven method for pain relief, most insurance carriers pay for the rental or purchase of this type of electrotherapy equipment.
How long will I have to use my TENS device?
Depending upon your condition, TENS devices can be rented for short periods of time (post-operative pain) or purchased by patients who will use the device for the rest of their life.
How do I receive the supplies necessary to use the TENS device?
Your Health Care Dealer will send you supplies (TENS unit electrodes, lead wires and batteries) on a monthly basis. They are knowledgeable in what your needs will be for this type of electrotherapy equipment.
What if my TENS device breaks?
All of BioMedical Life Systems, Inc. TENS devices carry a limited warranty period. Contact your Health Care Dealer for further information.
How do I get a TENS device?
Before obtaining a TENS device you must first have a prescription from your physician. Once you have a prescription, your Health Care Dealer can supply you with a TENS System from BioMedical Life Systems, Inc. and tens unit electrodes as needed.
Why choose the BioMedical Life Systems Inc. TENS system?
BioMedical Life Systems, Inc. has been manufacturing electro-modalities for over 30 years. We manufacture quality devices that are both user friendly and proven effective in pain relief.
Where can I get further information on TENS?
You can talk to your physician or contact your Health Care Dealer. For more information or the name and address of your nearest BioMedical Life Systems, Inc. Health Care Dealer, call toll-free (800) 726-8367.
Peripheral Nervous System
GLOSSARY OF TERMS ASSOCIATED WITH TENS
- ATP – Adenosine Triphosphate that helps to promote protein synthesis.
- Accommodation – Becoming accustomed to stimulation resulting in nerve and muscle fatigue.
- Acute Pain – Sudden, severe and of short duration.
- Alternating Current (AC) – Uninterrupted flow of charged particles that reverses itself at regular intervals.
- Amplitude Modulation – Variation or change in the magnitude of the current over a period of time.
- Anesthesia – Loss of sensation and consciousness
- Analgesia – A pain sensation-free state without loss of consciousness.
- Asymmetric – Unbalanced or unequal.
- Beat Frequency – The intersection and temporal summation of two or more electrical waves that differ in frequency.
- Beta Fibers – Nerve impulse transmitters.
- Biofeedback – Automatic bodily response to a stimulus used to acquire voluntary control of the response.
- Biphasic – Two electrical phases: one positive, the other negative.
- Bipolar Stimulation – The use of two electrodes.
- Bipolar Polarity – Electrical current above and below the baseline.
- Brain Wave Rhythms – Alpha, beta, delta, and theta
- Burst – A finite series of pulses followed by a pause or interburst interval.
- Carrier Frequency – A frequency within a pulse.
- Calcium – Deficiency or excess of serum calcium causes nerve and muscle dysfunctions and abnormal blood clotting.
- Central Nervous System – Brain and spinal cord.
- Chronic Pain – Constant Pain that continues for months or years.
- Constant – Continuous stimulation, no change in pattern.
- Contraindications – Any condition that makes a particular treatment inadvisable.
- Cycled – Electrical timing functions cycling through ramp, on and off times.
- Decubitus Ulcers – Wounds resulting in prolonged sitting or lying becoming inflamed and ulcerated.
- Delta – Brain wave rhythm of 1-4 cycles per second. A state of deep dreamless sleep.
- Dermatomes – The skin area supplied with nerve fibers by a single posterior spinal root.
- Diathermy – Heat therapy associated with high frequencies of 10,000pps and higher.
- Direct Current (DC) – An uninterrupted flow of charged particles that flows in one direction.
- Distally – Situated away from the center of the body or point of origin.
- Edema – The swelling of the body tissue.
- Endorphins – A morphine-like substance released by the pituitary gland to decrease pain.
- Enkephalins – See endorphins. Enkephalins also inhibit the pain causing chemicals (prostaglandins) from passing messages to the brain.
- Electrodes – The terminal through which electrical stimulation is applied to the body.
- Frequency – Number of cycles of carrier wave per second. Also known as Pulses Per Second (pps), Hertz (Hz), and Pulse Rate.
- Frequency Shifts – An abrupt change in frequency used to excite different tissue levels and to prevent accommodation.
- Frequency Swing – A slow adjustment to the frequency used to excite different tissue levels and to prevent accommodation.
- Gate Theory – Hypothetical ‘Gate’ which blocks pain from reaching the brain.
- Hertz – Unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second, See Frequency.
- High Frequency – In Pain Management and TENS classification of high frequency is greater than 50pps. In NMS and Multi-Frequency Devices high frequency is associated with heat or diathermy at frequencies greater than 10,000pps.
- Impulse – Wave of excitation in nerve causing action or inaction of muscles.
- Indications – An indicator for a particular treatment.
- Inflammation – Process affecting the part of the body with heat, swelling, and redness.
- Interference current – The current that interacts with the adjustable current resulting in a beat frequency.
- Low frequency – In Pain Management and TENS classification of low frequency is 1-20pps. In NMS and Multi-Frequency Devices low frequency is associated with minimum frequency required for tetany in the ranges of 1-1,000pps.
- MENS – Micro current Electrical Nerve Stimulator.
- Maximum Sensory Threshold – Where the effectiveness of the Gate Theory and Endorphin release is at an optimum.
- Medium Frequency – Technically defined as 1,000 to 10,000pps
- Meridians – Lines of transmission through the body.
- Microamplitude – Maximum value of current measured from the baseline represented by the symbol uA, 1/1000 of 1 Milliamp.
- Milliamplitude – Maximum value of current measured from the baseline represented by the symbol mA.
- Modes of Operation – Types of stimulation patterns such as Burst, Modulation, and Continuous.
- Modulation – The altering of the pulse rate and or pulse width and or amplitude of the pulse.
- Motor Neurons – Nerve cells of the brain.
- Muscle – Strong tissue composed of fibers that have power of contraction to produce movement of the body.
- NMS – Neuro Muscle Stimulators
- Nerve Fibers – A bundle of conducting fibers enclosed in the epineurium for the transmission of impulses between any part of the body and nerve center.
- Nerve Stimulation – Caused by minute electrical impulses through the electrodes to the nerve endings.
- Neurons – Brain nerve cells.
- Neuro Transmitter – A chemical that is released from one neuron into the synaptic junction (gap) between it and another neuron.
- Ohm – Electrical resistance measurement.
- Ohm’s law – V=IR . The potential difference (V) across a pure resistor is directly proportional to the current flowing through the resistor.
- Peripheral Nervous Systems – Those parts of the nervous system lying outside the central nervous system.
- Phantom Limb – a feeling of an arm or leg that has been amputated still exists.
- Polarity – Electrical condition of either positive or negative from baseline.
- Post Operative Pain – Pain suffered after an operation.
- Potentiometers – Instrument for measuring or adjusting electrical potential.
- Pre-Programmed – Modes of operation are preset and cannot be changed.
- Protracted Pain – Pain that continues for weeks, sometimes months.
- Proximal – Nearest the point that is considered the center of a system. (E.g. central nervous system).
- Pulse Amplitude – The measure of the magnitude of current with reference to the base line measured in Milli amplitude or Micro amplitude.
- Pulse Duration – See pulse width.
- Pulse Rate – Output rate of pulses generated per second.
- Pulse Width – The time elapsed from the beginning to the end of all phases within one pulse measured in microseconds.
- Ramp – Sequential increase or decrease in amplitude, width, or rate.
- Rise Time – The time for the leading edge of the phase to increase from the baseline to peak amplitude of the phase.
- Sensory Nerve Fibers – Convey impulses from the periphery towards the brain or spinal cord.
- Strength Duration – Stimulation that follows the Maximum Sensory Threshold.
- TENS – Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator
- Transcutaneous – Through/ beneath the skin.
- Volts – Unit of electromotive force the difference of potential that would carry on ampere of current against an OHM resistance.
- Wave Forms – Different electrical forms or patterns emitted through the electrodes to the skin.