One of the most common ailments in the world is back pain. People experience it at least once in their lives. This is because the causes of the pain can range from bad posture to serious health conditions. Doctors prescribe medication or therapy for their patients. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy is a method that is becoming more prevalent. Many are now using a TENS machine in the back to reduce pain without intrusive procedures.
TENS machines can manage several types of back pain, may it be acute or chronic. Typically, people see a TENS machine in rehabilitation centres or facilities. However, there are personal units that they can buy. They can use it at home or when out at work. To understand more about what TENS entails, this article will present what it is, how it works, and why people may choose it over other alternatives.
What is a Back TENS Machine?
A back TENS machine is a type of tool used in electrotherapy. It emits low-voltage electrical impulses to relieve pain. TENS machines are handheld devices with wires connecting to the electrode pads. Wired devices are common, but wireless versions are also available. Hence, they can use them wherever they go as they do not have to deal with cable.
Wireless TENS devices are more portable and discreet when worn under clothing. Some are Bluetooth-enabled, which makes them more convenient to use. Individuals can connect them to their smartphones to begin treatment. They can also adjust the settings manually.
Moreover, people can manipulate the frequency and intensity of TENS. They can either go for low frequency or high frequency, depending on the pain level. On the other hand, some TENS machines have pre-set programs. This helps individuals start treatment without having to adjust the settings every time. Typically, it operates by alternating the two groups of frequencies to avoid building resistance to the treatment.
Causes & Risk Factors of Back Pain
Common causes of back pain are as follows:
- Osteoarthritis – the wear and tear of joints, pressure from excessive weight, and age are the factors that produce pain
- Damaged discs – pain in the back can spread to the buttocks and legs
- Muscle strain – constant repetition of heavy lifting can harm the ligaments
Risks may increase the likelihood of pain. Here are some of them:
- Improper posture – people who are working at their desks with poor posture can affect the spine and organs negatively
- Weak muscles – those who do not do many physical activities can weaken the muscles.
- Smoking – may cause coughing, which strains back muscles
How Does a Back TENS Machine Work?
The TENS machine in the back works by stimulating nerves through electrical currents. People can experience two kinds of relief with TENS. The frequency they use will determine this. Low frequency is the first one. Professionals suggest to utilize this initially to gauge how comfortable they can be with TENS. The method boosts the production of the natural pain reliever in the body. Hence, they feel lighter afterwards.
Meanwhile, high frequency is suitable for those who want to reduce pain immediately. Unlike with the first kind, high frequencies act faster. However, the tendency is for the effect to diminish faster as well once they remove their device. The impulses they emit mask the pain as they block the signals from going to the brain. Hence, patients have a decreased pain perception.
People who are experiencing back pain can manage their pain using TENS. The combination of proper pad placement and a good-quality device aids in non-invasive and natural method of healing without adverse side effects.
Are There Risks?
TENS has low risks. Hence, many choose it despite the lack of research. It has worked effectively for others without causing side effects. However, there are certain things that they have to consider. One of which is not to place the pads directly over the spine. It would be better to set the pads on either side of the spine instead.
Another risk is skin irritation. Adhesives may cause allergic reactions in some people. Consequently, they will experience redness, irritation, or itchiness. Thus, those who have sensitive skin may buy hypoallergenic pads to avoid the potential situation they may face.
Advantages Of Using A Back TENS Machine
There are several reasons why people may choose to use a TENS machine in the back over other alternatives. Firstly, it reduces medication intake. It is common to aid back pain with painkillers. However, long-term use of drugs like opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be harmful to the body. Organs such as the liver can weaken because of the chemicals. On the other hand, TENS is drug-free.
Secondly, TENS devices are non-invasive. People suffering from chronic back pain may use them to manage discomfort. Proper pad placement helps in relieving pain effectively. Hence, patients may continue being active while undergoing treatment. Moreover, This also lessens the need for intrusive treatments like surgery, unless prescribed by a doctor.
Lastly, it is convenient and portable. Wireless TENS machines, like iTENS from iTENS Australia, are easy to use with Bluetooth connectivity. Adults, especially working professionals, may use them anywhere whenever pain starts. Thus, it enables them to go on with their daily activities
When to See a Doctor?
TENS reduces pain, but it does not ultimately treat medical conditions. Thus, if symptoms persist, it might signal something more serious. They must seek medical attention when they feel that the pain is severe and constant, especially during nighttime.
Numbness and stinging feeling in other parts of the body can also be alarming. Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing is not normal, especially when it is related to back pain. Hence, people must consult a doctor if these happen. All in all, it is always best to see a doctor even if something feels strange in their bodies.
Back TENS machines are battery-operated devices. They manage acute and chronic back pains. Moreover, it reduces other bodily pains. The process is non-invasive. Also, TENS is FDA-approved. Therefore, people should not worry about using it. It stimulates the nerves to produce endorphins and to stop pain signals. The effect is faster compared to other treatments. However, like other treatment methods, people should remain cautious about following guidelines and speaking to professionals.
Owning a TENS machine is beneficial because people can bring it anywhere. They can use it anytime they experience pain. Furthermore, the devices are technologically advanced. TENS can connect to Bluetooth so people can use their phones instead of handheld devices with wires. If you are interested where to get your unit, you can visit iTENS Australia. They offer wireless TENS machines, replacement pads and other accessories for long-term use.