What Does TENS Mean?

The short answer to that is Transcutaneal Electrical Nerve Stimulation. However, it would be understandable if that answer rose even more questions than just ‘what does TENS mean?’ Perhaps we should break it down even further in order to gain a better cognizance of the meaning of those terms. Let’s begin with transcutaneal. That word means ‘across the skin;’ that’s how the pain relieving properties of TENS devices are transmitted to users. However, there are no needles or piercing taking place during treatment. As a matter of fact, TENS therapy is pretty much painless.
So what is it that is being sent through the skin? That would be a series of electrical impulses that vary in intensity, and in frequency. Electrotherapy is a drug-free treatment for chronic and acute pain, and is also helpful in the rehabilitation of injured muscles. These electrical impulses are sent to the nerves that are responsible for relaying pain signals to the brain and spinal cord. By stimulating these nerve fibers (specifically A beta fibers), the affected area stops sending pain signals to the brain, and thus pain is subsided. At the same time, TENS may trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural opioids.
Therefore, when asked next ‘what does TENS mean’, you will be able to reply that TENS is a form of electrotherapy that emits electrical impulses through the skin and into the nerves to alleviate musculoskeletal pain. The electrical current that constitutes the life-force of TENS therapy is channeled through a set of lead wires and electrodes that are attached to the patient’s skin. The intensity, modes, time, etc. can be easily adjusted using the controls embedded in the device’s interface. Though response varies from user to user, pain relief is usually experienced within 30 minutes of application.
What else does this all mean? For one thing, it means effective deliverance from the pain caused by such conditions as arthritis, back pain, bursitis, labor, bruising, headaches, ligament injuries, muscle strains, neck pain, period pains, phantom limb, post-surgery pain, sciatica, sports injuries, tendonitis, and tennis elbow. But you don’t have to just take our word for it, feel free to ask your doctor what TENS means and what it can do for you as a pain management and rehabilitation therapy.