How well do TENS units work for pain?
Do TENS units work well when it comes to relieving pain? As a matter of fact they do, but that is not the same to say that they work equally for everybody. On principle, there are certain individuals who should not use electrotherapy at all, such as:
· Pregnant women.
· People with a pacemaker or any other implanted electronic or metallic device.
Those exceptions made, it is safe to say that most people can use a TENS unit. How well will the device work for them? Truth be told, a lot of that depends on whether they use the machine correctly. TENS units are inexpensive – especially here at Discount Medical Supplies – and very easy to use, but those benefits may actually lead you to a false sense of security. In order to obtain the positive results that TENS therapy is capable of, you should always heed the advice of your primary care provider. To begin with, TENS should not be used to treat pain that has not been properly diagnosed. This is because electrotherapy is not a panacea; for example, it is not effective for pain of central origin, including headache. So, do TENS units work? Yes, if they are used to relieve joint pain, back pain, arthritic pain, etc. But the etiology (i.e. source) of pain must be established by a physician first.
Additionally, user should read the instruction manual very carefully. This document includes such basic warnings and precautions as the following:
· Long-term application may seldom cause skin irritation at the electrode site.
· Do not apply electrical current on the front carotid sinus region (neck), throat, or through the head.
· Turn unit off before applying or removing electrode pads.
· Use with caution in patients with suspected heart disease.
· Electrodes should not be applied over the eyes, in the mouth, or internally.
These and other measures will ensure not only effective but also safe use of a TENS unit. However, the success or failure of TENS therapy hinges greatly upon electrode placement. There may be quite a bit of trial and error in this area; hence doctor and patient must be willing to try several different positions and patterns before attaining the desired results. And once they hit the nail squarely in the head, they should take note so as to repeat the winning electrode placement for future occasions. These tips may also be of help:
· Narrow down the location of pain to the most concise and tender area.
· Use electrodes in pairs (one or two pairs) but never a single pad.
· The distance between, and the direction of the electrodes may influence the flow of electrical sensation.
· The direction of the electrode pads can be vertical, horizontal, or angulated.
· The distance between electrodes must be at least 1 inch. Electrodes should never tough each other; on the other hand, the greater the distance the less effective they are.
· An electrode pad applied directly over a knee, elbow, or ankle may not stick adequately due to the movement of the joint.
Some patients may not experience positive results because they are not placing the electrode pads correctly, or because they are applying too much – or not enough – intensity. Others for whom TENS units worked initially may be surprised to find that the effect diminishes in time. This may be a result of their growing used to treatment. Certain devices like the TENS 7000 come with Burst and Modulation modes precisely to avoid this pitfall. Another possible solution is to increase the level of intensity – like a drug that is no longer effective and requires a higher dosage; with the added benefit of course that TENS has no side effects. In all of those instances, and whenever in doubt, consult your doctor. Do TENS units work? Perhaps a better question is, are working your TENS unit properly?