How do Tens Units Work?

Ever see the commercial a few years back for the home exercise unit where you put two electrodes on your muscles and it zaps you? You can exercise from the comfort of your recliner and not move a muscle… on your own, at least. These devices really do exist, and exist for a medical purpose, not for scamming you into thinking you can exercise from your couch.

Almost 30% of Americans suffer from some type of chronic pain. The formal name for these devices is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS. They’re used to treat chronic pain without narcotic drugs or other potentially harmful substances.

Help with Pain Relief

These small devices deliver a short electrical pulse to electrodes which are placed on the skin of a patient. These electrodes then transmit a short pulse to the nerves beneath the skin, stimulating them in such a way as to mimic normal body communication.

A small computer chip controls how the pulses are generated and how the pulses are to be delivered to the patient. These medical devices can be controlled by the person using the unit directly. The frequency of the pulse to the nerve endings and the strength of the electrical pulse can be altered to help alleviate most of the individuals pain.

Pain being treated by TENS units usually starts to subside within thirty minutes of therapy. Different unit styles exist, allowing the user to be treated for a few hours a day to some units which work all day long and are worn constantly. Some units are even designed to work while you sleep at night.

TENS units are not dangerous. All units must be FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved for use and are completely safe when used properly.

People also ask if there are side effects to using TENS units. There are none. Unlike prescription and over-the-counter drugs, TENS units, when used as directed, are side-effect free. Other pain control methods like narcotics are highly addictive and patients who take these medications for long periods of time can become dependent. This is, in fact, one of the primary reasons pain suffers use TENS units.

Patients using TENS units will not be hurt or have their pain increased. When used as directed, the pain should be reduced. Sometimes a minor tingling sensation may be felt by individuals, but no additional pain has been reported when used as directed.

If you have chronic pain issues, do talk to your doctor about TENS Units and using these innovative devices to alleviate your pain, helping you lead a more normal, pain-free life.


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