TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is the most common form of electrotherapy used to manage various types of acute and chronic pain. TENS units are a small, battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses through adhesive pads (also called electrodes) placed on the skin's surface to the areas of the body that are experiencing pain. The electrodes are connected to the TENS unit through lead wires. TENS works best when used during activities such as doing daily chores, walking, or exercising.
TENS can be used to relieve chronic and acute pain from various conditions. Some of the conditions may include:
There are two theories about how TENS works: gate control theory and release of endorphins.
Most people can use TENS and EMS units safely but check with your medical provider to make sure that it is recommended for your condition before you start using them. They can also guide you on placing the electrodes correctly to reap maximum benefit.
The electrical current stimulates nerve cells that carry signals relating to touch. These signals travel to the spinal cord. On reaching, the spinal cord closes the gate on the pain signals and blocks them. The pain signals do not reach the brain to be perceived as pain.
Another theory is that nerve stimulation releases endorphins, which are our body’s natural pain-killing chemicals. The endorphins block the perception of pain.
EMS stands for Electronic Muscle Stimulator. The device uses electrical signals to stimulate muscle fibers to contract to strengthen muscles, reduce swelling, relieve pain, and help heal wounds. The impulses generated by the device are delivered through electrodes over the middle of the muscles that require stimulation.
There are many benefits of EMS therapy. It helps reduce swelling and expedite the healing process of injured or damaged tissue. Electric muscle stimulation also helps reduce chronic pain. Other benefits include:
Electrical stimulation therapy is not recommended for certain conditions, including:
Furthermore, the therapy should not be applied to the following:
Channels are the term used to refer to the number of lead wires that can be plugged at a time. Most of the TENS and EMS units feature single or dual channels. Some devices offer four channels.
It all depends on the area you need to treat. If you need to treat wider areas like the back, you may need a dual channel. For smaller areas like the knee, a single-channel device might do good.
Most TENS and EMS devices feature preset timers during which they offer treatment and then automatically shut off the device when the time is complete. Consult your medical provider to determine the treatment time required for your specific condition. According to that, you can choose the product so that you do not have the hassle of restarting the machine.
Adjustability matters a lot. The users need to adjust the intensity of the nerve stimulation as per their specific needs. Most of the TENS and EMS units nowadays come with different intensity levels. Patients can decide which level is the best for relieving their pain. Your physician or physical therapist can help you decide what intensity level would be best for relieving your pain. Ensure that the model you buy comes with at least three intensity settings low, medium, and high.
TENS and EMS devices are either rechargeable or battery powered. Battery-powered devices are inexpensive with the added convenience of no charging time. On the other hand, rechargeable devices though costlier initially, can save your time and money in the long run.
Size and the weight of the device affect its portability. The size and weight of TENS and EMS depend on several factors, such as the design of the unit and the features they are offering. Because of this, it is important to consider both the usability and portability of the product. So go for a product that can most likely give you the best of both worlds.
At Health Products For You, a wide selection of TENS and EMS devices are available from various manufacturers such as Compass Health, Biomedical Life Systems, Bodymed, Chattanooga, etc. Shop now and earn reward dollars on every purchase and use these reward dollars on your next order.
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