TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) units are the most popular form of device that delivers electrotherapy treatment for back pain. These interesting machines can be part of a professional treatment program or can be purchased to provide home back pain relief.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is very popular with a diversity of care providers due to its simplistic nature and incredibly high profitability. It is also a patient favorite, since it is user-controlled, non-pharmaceutical, basically risk-free and may even be covered by health insurance benefits.
This guide examines the application of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy in back and neck pain patients.
Electrotherapy Using TENS
Electrotherapy is a treatment that uses electric current to disrupt normal nerve impulses. When the nerve is signaling pain, the electrical current will intercept this nerve message before it can reach the brain. Electrical current has also been shown to produce endorphins, which are the body’s own natural pain fighters.
While definitive proof that electrotherapy actually helps relieve back pain is in short supply, clinical data from patient surveys is positive. This can speak volumes for any variety of care in an industry which often disappoints patients terribly. However, electrotherapy remains controversial and is often considered a placebo treatment by many pain experts.
The electric current is applied through electrodes that are temporarily and painlessly adhered to the skin. The electric current can be alternated between high frequency and low frequency settings. High frequency is relatively comfortable to receive, but the resulting pain relief is only short term. Low frequency stimulation has a longer lasting result, but is often uncomfortable to endure the treatment.
There are many varieties of current used including superficial, deep tissue, pulse and constant voltage. The patient and caregiver will determine what type of current is best for the patient’s individual needs. This is usually a trial and error process which may take a few days to a few weeks.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Research concerning the effectiveness of electrotherapy is not conclusive. Some studies have shown moderately good results, while others have shown absolutely no benefits for pain. Electrotherapy might truly help some patients, give others a placebo reaction and do nothing at all for the rest.
The only way to know how you will respond to treatment is to try it out for yourself. Being that there are no significant risk factors for indicated users, this is not a bad idea for many patients. Therapy is available from many different types of caregivers, so finding a service provider should be extremely easy. Alternately, many patients decide to invest in a home treatment unit to experiment with electrical therapy on their own..
TENS Electrical Nerve Stimulation Risks
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation demonstrates increased risks for those with heart problems and hypertension. Pregnant woman should not use electrotherapy units to treat their pain, due to unknown side effects on the fetus. Epileptic individuals are also advised against the use of electric current for pain relief.
Every patient considering nerve stimulation should consult with their physician prior to use to be sure that the treatment is right for them. In no case should any patient perform experimental electrical therapy without supervision and clearance from their primary care physician.
There are literally thousands of different styles of electrotherapy units available for public sale. They range greatly in their features and reputations. The prices typically range from about $50 to about $200. There are professional models that can cost 30 times this amount, as well as humor-inspiring battery-powered units for under $10.
Use your common sense and find a product that truly meets your needs. Do not buy a cheap product just to save some money and do not pay for features that you do not need. Talk to your doctor for advice on finding the correct unit for you. For best results, try to purchase equipment with a money-back guarantee to minimize the financial risks of any substantial investment in case the treatment fails to provide satisfying results for you and your pain.
Tips on TENS for Back Pain Relief
We reiterate that it is advisable to consult with a doctor before purchasing and using any electrotherapy unit. This way the patient will know if the treatment is right for them and they will also have advice on which type of unit to buy.
Nerve stimulation units are available in medical supply stores, as well as all over the internet. Online shopping has made the purchase of these machines an easy and hassle free experience. Many online stores sell equipment that has been thoroughly tried, tested and reviewed by fellow patients. We recommend reading actual testimonials prior to any purchase to insure best results and value of investment.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this controversial treatment option.