When you think about it, a TENS unit does not hurt until the point where it hurts when it is pressed on. You would be shocked when you are hit by a car, and it did not feel anything then, similarly with a TENS device, it will not hurt until it is pressed. The pain sensation comes from a small electric charge that passes across the nerves and sends a signal to the brain. It is an effective treatment for many ailments and is used to relieve headaches, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic pain.
A TENS unit, also called a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator or simply a TENS unit, is a medical device that uses electrodes to present electrical current to the body to produce a sensation of pain relief. It functions by delivering short electrical pulses to the muscles that cause pain. Many doctors use them for puncture wounds or to help them realise that the condition is becoming more serious.
There are two different types of TENS units:
– Indirect TENS: this type of unit uses a probe (that looks like a pen) placed on the site of discomfort and gently applies electrical stimulation to it. When the skin irritation goes away, the current stops, this type of TENS unit is often used as an adjunct therapy to another form of therapy. For example, suppose the patient has to have a dose of anesthetic while being sedated. In that case, they can be given a remote-controlled tens unit that delivers the electrical current when the patient groans. Some patients even have this unit that emits ultrasound, which is said to be even more effective.
– Direct TENS: these types of units use lead wires that are taped to the skin surface. When they are activated, the lead wires deliver stimulation to the area that needs stimulation. These electrodes also differ from indirect TENS units in that they do not need any additional connections to the area. Instead, the patient merely has to place their finger near the area that needs stimulation, and the electrodes will be picked up by the unit and delivered to the skin.
In getting the best results, both types of TENS units must be applied correctly. For a successful application, the patient must place the lead wires on top of the skin surface where the pain is, and they must then tape the unit to the surface. It is done so that the electrodes are not in clear view of the surrounding tissue but are kept behind the skin to provide the most comfort. In addition, the patient should make sure that they cover the unit with clothing during its use, such as a coat. The body can sometimes pick up body odour from the electrodes placed nearby, so it is best to minimise clothing contact with them.
After applying the electrodes, it is important to determine which stimulation mode is appropriate for the condition being treated. The two basic types of TENS machines are continuous pressure and pulsating modes; determining which type of TENS unit is the most effective for the patient is a matter of trial-and-error. Pulsing TENS machines provide greater stimulation and relief of symptoms but require more consistent power source levels to maintain results.