About Tens Units

What is a TENS Unit?

“TENS” is the acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. A “TENS unit” is a pocket size, portable, battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals.

The electrical currents produced are mild, but can prevent pain messages from being transmitted to the brain and may raise the level of endorphins (natural pain killers produced by the brain).

TENS units should only be used under the direction of a doctor, physical therapist, oroccupational therapist. Electrodes are attached to the surface of the skin over or near the area where you are experiencing pain. It is important that you learn how to:

  • correctly put on the electrodes (proper placement is important)
  • operate the unit
  • change the batteries
  • vary the controls and settings (both the frequency and voltage)
  • set the proper duration and intensity of the stimulation (which depends on the location and type of pain)

TENS units are prescribed for both acute pain and chronic pain conditions such as:

  • arthritis
  • joint pain
  • fibromyalgia

For some chronic pain patients, a TENS unit provides pain relief that can last for several hours. For others, a TENS unit may help reduce the amount of pain medications needed. Some patients hook the unit onto a belt turning it on and off as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.) What is a TENS Unit?

(Transuctaneous Electronic Neuro Stimulator)
A.) An Effective Neuro Stimulator to help reduce pain and inflammation. For over 25 years TENS units have been a convenient portable, effective and affordable way of controlling, managing and even ending pain.

Q.) How does a TENS Unit work?

A.) 1- The TENS Unit stimulates the superficial nerves beneath the skin, this stimulation allows the body to produce it’s own natural pain healing substances called endorphins.

A. )2- The electrical stimulation also blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain so you won’t perceive the pain. Many medications block the pain signals but, with Toxic Side Effects. TENS Units have no toxic side effects!

Q.) How do I operate the TENS Unit?

A.) After adjusting the parameters of the TENS Unit to your desired settings, place the lead wires into the unit, place the electrodes on the other ends of the lead wire, place the electrodes on your body and then turn the equipment on.

Q. Where do I place the electrodes if I have low back pain?

A. You place the electrodes around the site of pain.

Q. Can I place the electrodes on the bony part of my back?

A. No, place the electrodes on the surrounding muscles not on the bones themselves.

Q. Can I used my TENS unit for pain other than back pain?

A. Absolutely, TENS units have been shown to be very effective for variety of pain. (see Doctor’s warnings)

Q. Can I use the TENS unit on my child who is ten years old?

A. No, while TENS units are safe, we recommend that you do NOT use a TENS unit on anyone UNDER THE AGE OF FIFTEEN.

Q. Can I use the TENS unit on my knees?

A. Yes, TENS units have been shown to be very effective with acute knee pain and patients with degenerative arthritis (Osteo).

Q. Can I use my TENS unit while driving?

A. NO! While under going TENS therapy a change in body direction may cause the muscle(s) to go into a spasm, thus impairing the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle.

Q. Is it OK to take a shower with the TENS unit?

A. No, as with any electrical device DO NOT come in contact with water.

Q. Can I apply the TENS electrodes to broken skin?

A. No, only apply the TENS electrodes to unbroken skin.

Q. Can I place the electrodes at the same site on my body every time I use the unit?

A. Yes, as long as your skin does not develop a rash. or skin irritation.

Q. What happens if a skin irritation occurs?

A. Discontinue use and consult your local physician.

Q. My friend has back pain. Can I let them use my TENS unit?

A. NO, while TENS units are safe and a non-invasive device, they do require a doctor’s prescription. Anyone with pain of undiagnosed origin may require on-site medical care.
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