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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Chiropractor TENS Unit: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Operate

A large and small wing iTENS electrode and refill gel pads

Chiropractic care has gained popularity as a holistic approach to managing pain and promoting overall wellness. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a method some chiropractors use to alleviate aches. A chiropractor TENS unit is a device that sends electrical impulses to the body. This triggers spinal nerve cells to block pain signals and induces endorphin production. To use a TENS machine, the user must place pads near or on the pain area, turn it on, and adjust the settings.

Many people suffer from different acute and chronic pain conditions. Hence, TENS is growing in popularity because of its drug-free and non-invasive treatment. Another advantage is that it supplements other treatments, such as physical therapy and home remedies. However, seeking advice from a health professional is ideal before using TENS. This article will present what a TENS unit is, how it works, and how to operate it.

What is a Chiropractor TENS Unit?

A chiropractor TENS unit is a medical device that sends low-voltage electrical currents to the body for effective pain relief. TENS therapy works as a supplement to chiropractic care. It can help with the treatment of various musculoskeletal conditions by alleviating the aches and promoting healing. TENS also helps with many other conditions, making it a versatile tool.

People may buy TENS machines online or in pharmacies that carry medical supplies. They are available without prescriptions. Nevertheless, seeking advice from a medical professional is recommended. They may assess the medical condition and help ensure safety. They may even provide product suggestions and help the patient decide.

Generally, there are two types of TENS machines: wired and wireless. Wired or handheld units use lead cables to connect the reusable electrode pads to the power source and controller. Meanwhile, wireless units use Bluetooth technology to connect the electrodes to the controller. For some devices, users may control the pads using a smartphone application.

Conditions It Can Treat

  • Sports injuries: this includes strains, sprains, and fractures. It also covers tennis elbow and swollen muscles.
  • Various body aches: muscle spasms, joint pain, chronic back pain, and chronic neck pain are some examples.
  • Fibromyalgia: a condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, general fatigue, and tenderness.
  • Sciatica: an ailment caused by injury or pressure to the sciatic nerve. This causes aches in the lower back and the affected leg.
  • Headaches: this includes tension headaches and migraines.
  • Diabetic neuropathy: causes aches and numbness in the legs, hands, and feet.
  • Herniated discs: occur when a disc breaks through a weak layer of the spinal cord.

A person placing a large wing electrode on the lower back area

How a Chiropractor TENS Unit Works

A chiropractor TENS unit works by triggering processes in the body to alleviate the ache. This is done by adjusting the frequency and intensity levels of the electrical stimulation delivered through the pads. A basic feature of most TENS machines is adjustable settings, but some also offer preset modes for added convenience.

Generally, using high frequencies (50-150 Hz) stimulates the spinal nerve cells to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This is the mechanism described in the Gate Control Theory of Pain. It is suitable for acute pain conditions because it takes effect quickly. Moreover, this setting has a massage-like effect that reduces muscle tension and increases flow to the area.

Meanwhile, using low frequencies (2-10 Hz) triggers the production of endogenous opioids. These are natural pain relievers that build up and reduce the overall pain sensation. Many use it for chronic pain management because its effects last hours after the session. In addition, endorphins help reduce inflammation and improve moods.

Benefits of Using the Device

There are several benefits to using TENS. Firstly, it is a non-invasive treatment. This eliminates the risks of infections and other complications from injections and incisions. It also does not require a recovery period after the session. Secondly, TENS is drug-free. It does not involve the use of medicines. On the contrary, it helps many people reduce or replace their intake of pain medications.

Thirdly, TENS machines are portable. This enables individuals to achieve relief whenever and wherever needed. Lastly, TENS has customisable settings so the user can tailor their treatment according to their comfort level and needs.

A woman manually adjusting the settings on an iTENS electrode

How to Operate a Chiropractor TENS Unit

Operating a chiropractor TENS unit is a straightforward process. TENS machines are easy to self-administer, which adds to its convenience. Nevertheless, it helps to study the instruction manual from the device manufacturer to increase understanding of how to use the device. Another tip is to wash the skin with soap and water before placing the reusable electrode pads. This can increase adhesion and prolong their use.

To start, attach the pads near or on the origin of the pain. Then, ensure these are connected to the controller, whether through wires or Bluetooth. Next, turn the machine on and start on low settings. After some time, gradually increase the settings until optimal relief is reached. Alternatively, they may select a preset mode for their condition.

Users may set a timer to inform them when to finish the session. Generally, TENS therapy sessions last about 20 to 30 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the condition and the settings used. Once the time elapses, the user may turn the machine off and remove the electrodes.

Pad Placement Guide

Proper electrode placement is crucial to reap the therapeutic benefits of TENS therapy. Generally, individuals place pads on muscles near or on the pain source. They can use multiple pads by placing them at least one inch away from each other.

However, users must remember some safety precautions while applying the pads. They must avoid sensitive areas like the spinal cord, chest, throat, head, and eyes. They must also refrain from placing the adhesives on joints or bones. Furthermore, they must avoid applying pads on irritated, infected, or broken skin. This is because the electrical stimulation may cause the condition to worsen.

Conclusion

A chiropractor TENS unit is a helpful tool for relieving pain. It supplements chiropractic care by providing a drug-free and non-invasive method of alleviating aches. It also promotes healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation of the targeted area. This device, which uses a reusable electrode pad to deliver stimulation, benefits many individuals suffering from acute and chronic pain conditions. This includes herniated discs, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, migraines, and muscle spasms.

Fortunately, using a TENS machine is a simple process. It starts with placing the pads on muscle areas near the pain source. Then, they may adjust the settings according to their needs. Nevertheless, consulting a medical professional before using any electrotherapy device is ideal. They may assess if it suits the individual and guide them on using the machine. Those interested in using a wireless TENS unit may consider the iTENS from iTENS Australia.

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