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Transcutaneous Electrical...

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TENS and its Types

It is one of the method of the electrical stimulation whose primary aim is to provide a degree of symptomatic pain relief be exciting sensory nerves. TENS units work by delivering small electrical impulses through electrodes that have adhesive pads to attach them to person's skin. These electrical impulses flood the nervous system, reducing its ability to transmit pain signals to the spinal cord and brain.

It is broadly categorized into 3 types:

 Conventional TENS (HIGH):

  • It involves the application of low intensity / high frequency current to produce strong but comfortable sensation, Its duration is 30 min. 

Acupunture-like TENS (LOW):

  • It involves the application of high intensity / low frequency current over muscles or accupunture points to produce strong but comfortable sensation. Its duration is less than 20 min.

Brief Intense TENS:

  • It involves the application of high intensity / high frequency current. It lasts for not more than 5 minutes.

Symptoms Treated

A TENS Unit has controls that allow people administer an appropriate level of pain relief. It can be achieved be altering the intensity, frequency and duration of the impulse. It may help in treating the following symptoms:

  • Period Pain
  • Labor Pain
  • Postoperative Pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Neck and Back Pain

IT may also alleviate pain that results from the following:

  • Endometriosis
  • Arthritis
  • Sports Injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Spinal Cord Injury

Limitations/Side Effects

It is safe for most of the people to use a TENS unit, with usually no side effects but,

  1. Electrical impulse of a TENS may cause buzzing, tingling, or pickling sensation, which might be uncomfortable for some.
  2. Some people may be allergic to adhesive pads. Anyone who experiences skin redness and irritation can switch to hypoallergenic ones.
  3. Electrodes should never be placed on the front of the neck as it may lower blood pressure or Over the eyes as it may cause injury.

When to avoid TENS?

Although it is safe for most people, experts recommends that some group of people must avoid the TENS treatment unless a doctor advises its use. 

The above recommendation applies to the following people:

  1. Pregnant Women: She should avoid using it in abdominal and pelvis regions
  2. People with Epilepsy: Applying electrodes to the head or neck of people with epilepsy may induce sudden disturbance in the brain
  3. People with Heart Problems
  4. People with a pacemaker or another type of electrical or metal implant

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