Disabilities, Mental Health, wellness

The TENS Unit and Chronic Pain

As with many of these discussions, I am going to use something to talk about that I have found useful in the management of my chronic pain. The TENS unit can be bought in any major drug store or can be from a prescription. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator. Using the pads given with the unit, the aim is to place them on the parts of the body that are sore and using different currents, it will give a message to the muscle and stimulate the nerve enough to ease the pain.

The source I am using is from a website for Santa Cruz Core, Fitness and Rehab. In the article, Jaimi Jansen explains that using the TENS unit and devices like that can help to with physical therapy and chronic pain symptoms. They describe the reason for this being that it is a non-invasive way to help patients with chronic pain due to injuries or other reasons both unknown and known. They say that post-injury patient can use this technology in order to reduce pain and swelling in the area where they were injured. Since the swelling itself can interfere with proper function or movement of body parts it can help the process of healing greatly. (Jansen, October 18, 2017, para 2-3)

The electrical currents cause the muscles to contract at different intervals allowing the muscles to regain strength and ease tension. They also explain that with orthopedic conditions or chronic conditions, it can help to help the blood flow better allowing the blood to repair and heal the body.

Another article from Verywellhealth.com explains that the TENS unit is not usually a part for the treatment of fibromyalgia but it is something to ask about. Doctors do not usually suggest it as a way of treatment. It also suggests that buying a unit on your own can cost from $25-100, but the benefit of getting a prescription is that they will most likely be sent to a physical therapist in order to learn how to use it properly since using a unit incorrectly can aggravate the muscles.

For me, using the TENS unit on a day where my pain is very high pain day is very relaxing. I can do crafts, write, or anything else relaxing while allowing the electrodes to massage the muscles that ache so much. There are a lot of muscle spasms that can happen with Fibro, and it can really work out the muscles that are tight very well and it honestly feels just like a mini massage. Though, I do know that you have to be careful. There are certain spots such as the spine and the area where the heart is that cannot have the pads on because the electricity can interfere with the health of the heart and the nerves in the spine.

It is also very important to read the directions thoroughly before using the TENS unit in order to use it. For example. Someone who has metal in their body cannot use it because the metal can interfere with the electrodes and be harmful to health. Those with heart problems can’t use it either because it can stimulate the blood vessels and the heart too much and cause problems. My mother has a double hip replacement with metal, so despite all the pain she suffers from still she cannot use my TENS because of the metal. The TENS is an amazing little device that can help to alleviate pain. I highly suggest this, but to also do research to see if it is right for the individual. As with all alternative medicines, you need to speak to a doctor before using it.

 

References

Dellwo, Adrienne. (June 03, 2018) A TENS Unit for Fibromyalgia Pain. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/a-tens-unit-for-fibromyalgia-pain-3973054

Jansen, Jaimi. (October 18, 2017) Benefits of Tens Unit and E-Stim. Retrieved from https://santacruzcore.com/benefits-of-tens-unit-and-e-stim/

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