A few years ago, this puppy would have set you back $700. But now it’s $49 with the darn battery included. But it still alleviates moderate to severe back pain and comes with a handy portable case and it is easy to use. Why pay for rental when you can own one for this price?
Even better, it’s probably the exact model you see in your neurosurgeon’s office. Another aspect that has changed is that you nolonger have to have a prescription for a TENS. It is a little tricky to apply the electrodes properly but this unit comes with manual that allbut holds your hand and shows you exactly how to use it.
So how does a TENS unit work?
TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation(T.E.N.S.). A TENS unit lessens pain by sending painless electrical impulses through electrodes in the form of sticky pads that you place in a particular way on your skin. 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).
In short, TENS signals can replace the pain message to these nerves with its tingling sensation. This changes your impression of the pain.
For patients who suffer chronic pain, a TENS unit provides pain relief that can last for several hours. For other people, 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. Some like the continuous buzz, some like the pulsating buzz.
The TENS has no side effects except in the case of those who should not use it (see contraindications below). The electrical signals travel from the TENS unit through wires to the electrodes.
When and where can it be used? After sports and not during.
TENS Cautions & Contraindications
Take care to make sure the pads stick well to the skin while the TENS unit is operating and do not try and peel up/move any pad while it is on or you can get a mild shock.
I’m not going to tell you it’s a fashion statement. But it’s no bigger than a blackberry and you can basically wear it to work or wear it to sleep by clipping it on your belt or wearing it in a fanny pack.You can even wear it out to do light garden work or while vacuuming.
It’s not designed for contact sports or running although it can be used afterward. You should really consult your doctor about using a TENS because you don’t want to mask pain that you need to pay attention to and do something about.
For example, it would put you at risk if you were to use it on your back to alleviate the pain of a herniated disk and then decide to run 6miles with it. You may very well end up doing permanent, irreversible damage. And it can come off or get hit, others can get shocked if worn during contact sports. But if you have suffered back pain and surgery and you still have pain, you can wear it all day.
Does it work for everyone?
Of course not. But it works for a large percentage of people.
No one should use it around the head or place electrodes near the neck near the carotid unless under close supervision of medical personnel. It may not be used across the head, over the carotid sinus (where the jaw meets the neck), over metal implants or in conjunction with sleep apnea or heart monitors. You should be aware that TENS units provide symtomatic therapy only and are not considered curative. We assume no liability for medical problems resulting from use of these units. Please consult your physician about the use of a TENS unit for your condition.