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 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 THESE 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.
WHO CAN’T USE TENS 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.