Lower voltages of electricity have always been used in therapy and other medical fields. The implementation of electricity into the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for human treatment and therapy has shown promising results.
The TENS machine is a considerably recent invention that has become a game changer in the field of medicine. This device helps in the miraculous and immediate relief of pain and other such discomforts.
What is TENS?
The transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as TENS, is an electronic nerve stimulator. This machine is used in the reduction of pain with the help of electric impulses on the skin. It is a tiny device which is powered by batteries. The machine has wires that end in two electrodes which help transmit the impulses.
Research has proven that this device has the potential to reduce and even cure pain, especially when it is short-term. The areas in which a TENS machine can provide relief are many. Since this equipment has not been around for too long, its full capacity is unknown.
There is a lot of potential to the machine as it has not been entirely explored. The scope of the TENS machine is not completely known as of now.
How does TENS work?
TENS makes use of electric impulses to acquire the desired results. The electrodes of the machine are placed wherever there is a local pain. Once placed on the correct physical location, the electric current passes through the electrodes into the skin. These electrodes stimulate certain nerves.
Although the exact cause for the immediate pain relief is not entirely known, there are a few explanations that may be true. One theory states that the electric impulses block the pain signals from reaching the brain; this is believed to be achieved when the transmissions are blocked by the electrical frequencies.
The nerve impulses are also believed to encourage the production of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the natural pain-reducing agents that help soothe a person in discomfort. Thus the TENS machine helps relieve pain in an indirect yet natural method.
The machine has varying settings that decide the intensity of the electrical impulses. The settings can be adjusted based on individual preferences, advice from a doctor or what setting suits best to reduce pain.
Is TENS safe?
Is TENS really safe? There has been no evidence to prove that even the persistent use of a TENS machine causes any harm. It is best to consult a doctor and do some personal research before using TENS. It should be made sure that the electrical impulses should not be too high for the person using it.
As the effects of TENS are unknown on pregnant women and people with a heart condition, it is best avoided. Anyone with pacemakers, infusion pump and similar devices should steer clear from this machine. The electrode pads may sometimes cause rashes or allergies if the person’s skin is ultra sensitive.
Uses of TENS machine
Here are various uses of TENS machine:
- Pain relief-pain can either be chronic or recent – Regardless of the reason, it can be universally accepted that pain constraints the day-to-day life activities. It curbs the capability of a person, making them weaker as time passes.
- TENS has been proven to reduce highly chronic cases – It helps in reduction of joint pains and other bone pains, arthritis and even pain during dental processes
- Reduces migraines – Applying electrodes on the local area where the pain is most experienced, gives immediate relief. It has been observed that people suffering from migraines had notable relief after using TENS. The longevity and intensity of a migraine had drastically reduced after using this machine.
- Boosts cardiovascular health – It is seen that people who regularly use the TENS machine have a better heart condition. It enhances the blood circulation and blood pressure which lessens the risks of a heart attack.
A good heart makes a person more active and athletic in nature and always keeps them fit. Thus TENS ensures the physical well-being of a person as well.
TENS delivers various such benefits which are useful in conditions where there might seem to be little hope. It helps people who suffer from urinary incontinence (bed-wetting). Its other advantages include improvement of lung capacity, bringing back a little sensation in the prosthetic limb, improved voice quality and more.
When this machine is correctly used, positive results can be observed. It is to be kept in mind the heights that the TENS machine has achieved, even when its full capacity is yet to be explored.
There is no limitation as to what kind of pain a TENS machine can reduce. A device like this is widely appreciated in modern times as it has no known side effects. The safe and natural way with which the TENS device reduces pain has made it so widely popular and trustworthy.
Jason Smith did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.