Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a non-invasive, passive, non-addictive,drugfree method of controlling pain. TENS Units is an electrical nerve stimulation sends a painless electrical current to specific nerves. For many patients its is very effective in reducing or eliminating the pain completely, allowing them to return to their normal activity.
TENS Units are used to control chronic and acute pain including Rheumatoid and Osteo-arthritis, Back pain, Peripheral Nerve Injuries, Shingles, Cancer Pain, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Phantom Limb Pain, Sports Injuries, Sciatica, Aching Joints, Post Operative Pain, Muscular Pain, Whiplash and Neck Injury and many other painful conditions.
TENS Unit come in two basic types:
- Analog TENS 3000
- Digital TENS 7000
Both types of TENS Unit use the basic components to control pain. The three basic components you need to review are the pulse rate, width and amplitude.
Differences between an Analog Tens Unit or a Digital TENS Unit:
Analog TENS Unit (Tens 3000) is very simple to use. You basically turn knobs instead of pushing buttons on a digital screen. This type of unit may be preferred by individuals not comfortable with using computers or for patients with poor vision, a digital tens unit is not functional since the patient can not see the small screen so the analog tens unit is preferred. The analog tens unit involves only touching and turning the buttons versus pushing buttons and watching a screen to see how to change the different functions such as rate, width, power, modulation, burst modes etc. The small tens unit screen is not easy to see, nor for many, easy to understand the many symbols showing how to work the tens unit. The analog tens unit has at most 5 buttons and one lever switch which once set may be never used again or, if used, very infrequently.
A Digital Tens Unit (Tens 7000) is different from an anlog tens unit in only it has a digital screen in which you touch the screen to change all of your settings. As far as the Pulse rate, width and amplitude that would depend on which unit you choose.
Important Tips when using a TENS Unit:
- Follow instruction manual
- 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)
- Place Electrodes on or around where you are experiencing pain
- Change the batteries when needed
The pulse rate also known as Hertz (Hz), P.R. or Pulses Per Second (pps), or Frequency of a tens unit can range from 1-250 HZ depending on the tens unit model you choose. The Pulse Rate is important because different frequency settings target different nerve groups, and the setting you choose will determine if the Tens unit wil work for the condition you are experiencing.
The pulse width is also known as either PW, Pulse Duration, or Microseconds (US). Usually the pulse width is measured in very small intervals known as microseconds. This typically ranges on Tens units from 1-250 uS. The higher the pulse width the more aggressive the electric stimulation feels.
The tens amplitude also know as Milliamps (mA) or Intensity is the amperage or wattage used so that the patient can feel the Tens sensation. Most portable Tens units range from 0-105 mA. Basically the higher you turn the tens unit up. The more you feel the stronger tens current.
Low Frequency: The lower frequencies, 2-5 Hz, are believed to cause the body to react. The reaction creates natural painkillers, or endorphins. The endorphins block the pain naturally and while popular, this isn't the usual method of using TENS.
High Frequency: For more intense pain, higher frequencies, 90-130 Hz, work to actually interrupt those pain signals being sent to the brain. This is the most common use for the machine and while you start slow, it's not uncommon to need to up the frequency to find the best block.
Contact our live chat at Discount Medical Supplies and speak to a doctor or staff member that can help you choose the right TENS Unit for you.