19 02 2013
Safely Using TENS for Pain Relief
When looking for a method to control pain without using medication, many have discovered the TENS machine. These devices are available without a prescription and are easy to use. There are several devices for use at home that range from a very simple and inexpensive machine to a twin channel device that includes muscle excitement functionality. Several years of history of use of these machines by thousands of patients have shown that TENS unit safety should cause no reason for worry.
The electrodes of the machine are attached to the user’s skin. A small electric pulse triggers the nerves. When set to a high electrical pulse rate, the action blocks the impulses transmitting pain communication to one’s brain. In addition, the machine may produce a low pulse rate to stimulate the production of hormones known as endorphins to suppress the pain. A handheld TENS machine allows the user to control the intensity, pulse rate and period the machine applies stimulation. Normally, patients use the unit for 20-30 minutes to block pain. The effect continues even after the machine is turned off due to the stimulation of endorphin production.
The TENS unit is more effective in alleviating chronic pain from muscle tissue, joints and nerves. It is not recommended for pain in acute conditions such as appendicitis. Individuals who suffer chronic pain requiring strong medication often find the TENS unit safety offers fewer side effects than increasing the level of painkillers.
The TENS unit safety is demonstrated in that it has become popular as a non-drug way of controlling labor pains. Electrodes are placed on the back and the woman takes control of the intensity. A higher pulse rate can block the pain of a contraction while a lower pulse rate increases the release of endorphin between contractions. The safety of the machine during the early stages of pregnancy has not been established, so expectant moms should avoid their use in the first trimester.
For greatest TENS unit safety, users should read and follow all directions. The device should not be used by individuals with pacemakers or epilepsy. It is recommended that individuals be evaluated by a physician to determine the source of the pain before using the machine.
TENS unit safety has been proven by many different users. It is particularly effective with chronic pain. Users should always take time to read all directions before applying pads or using the machine for any type of pain.