TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) can help relieve most cases of common pain including acute (recent injury), sub-acute (several days to weeks after injury) and even chronic (more than a few months after injury) pain.
TENS works by sending safe, gentle electrical pulses across the surface of the skin where they are picked up by sensory nerves. The pulses interfere with pain signals traveling to the brain, which decreases your perception to pain. The gentle pulses also stimulate your body to produce higher levels of endorphins, a natural sedative.
TENS Units help back and neck pain caused by trauma or continual strain. The body responds to such pain with muscle guarding, an attempt to immobilize the painful area by tightening the muscles. Muscle guarding impairs circulation in the affected area and slows down healing. TENS therapy breaks this pain cycle and allows you to move better with less pain!
The TENS unit is about the size of a deck of cards and contains a belt clip. You attach a lead (dual wire) to each channel, and then attach the contact pads (electrodes) to the ends of the wire (male-female connector– very easy to do). Apply the electrodes around your painful areas, set the frequency and mode (generally, use lower frequencies for recent pain/injury and higher for older/chronic pain), turn on each channel to a comfortable setting using the knob control, and relax!
Important: Do not touch the electrode pads while your TENS unit is turned on. Doing so will give you an electrical shock. While not harmful, it is strong enough to be very unpleasant! This is because your fingertips have a high density of sensory nerve endings and will feel the pulses 10x stronger than anywhere else. So, please remember to not handle the electrodes until your TENS unit is turned off.
Although applying TENS to your body is simple to do, if you are not comfortable doing this yourself, consult the help of a physical therapist or athletic trainer in your area.
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Consult your doctor before using a TENS unit. TENS units are not recommended for those who have electronic device implants such as cardio pacemakers, atrial fibrillation or other heart disorder; history of epileptic seizures and other disorders where the application of electrical stimulation may trigger an adverse reaction. Do not use adjacent to heart and side of neck, as this may interfere with electrical signals to the heart. Not recommended for pregnant women.
For a quick tutorial on how to use a TENS unit, you can view this YouTube video.
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