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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Electro TENS Machine: The Need to Know

A small and large wing iTENS and a pack of refill gel pads

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or electro TENS machine is a device used to provide pain relief by delivering electrical currents to the body. Consequently, this electrical stimulation works on the principle of the pain gate mechanism. Additionally, the electrical impulses can trigger the natural production of endorphins. As a result, the TENS therapy program can treat various types of pain, whether acute pain or chronic pain. It also manages nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, and sore muscles.

Different types of pain can significantly impact the quality of life. This makes day-to-day tasks unbearable. Hence, it is essential to find an effective pain management solution. Traditional methods of pain relief often involve painkilling medications and physical therapies. However, they may not always provide adequate relief. This is where TENS pain relief therapy comes in as a promising solution. The following sections will present the electro-TENS unit, how it works, and the types of pain suitable.

What is an Electro TENS Machine?

The electro TENS machine is a small, battery-operated unit that sends electrical pulses to the body as a method of pain relief. Consequently, the delivery of electric currents is possible through the adhesive electrodes placed on the skin. This technology for pain relief is commonly used by pain clinics, medical professionals, professional therapists, and individuals.

There are two types of TENS devices: wired and wireless. The wired TENS units require a physical connection between the machine and the electrode pads. Meanwhile, wireless TENS models operate via Bluetooth or other wireless technologies. Nevertheless, both types offer various features. This may include adjustable settings, pre-set programs, dual channels, and rechargeable batteries.

Furthermore, using a TENS unit involves several steps. Begin by preparing the device. Next, identify the treatment area, clean and dry it, and place the electrodes. It is vital to follow the proper electrode placement in this step. Finally, turn on the device, adjust the settings, or choose a program. It is vital to start with the lowest setting and gradually increase it to a comfortable level.

Benefits

  • Targeted relief: TENS can directly address the source of discomfort, offering localised relief.
  • Versatile: this adaptability makes the device applicable to a wide range of conditions.
  • Non-invasive and drug-free: it provides relief without the need for injections, surgical interventions, or pharmaceutical medications.
  • Customisable: users can adjust the pulse rate, pulse intensity, and pulse duration. Hence, it allows for personalised pain management tailored to individual needs.
  • Cost-effective: it eliminates the cost of ongoing medications or frequent visits to healthcare providers.
  • Portable: many modern TENS devices are compact and lightweight. This enables people to use them at home, work, or on the go.

An elderly woman using TENS on her wrist while sitting and reading

How an Electro TENS Machine Works

Foremost, the electro TENS machine works on the principle of the Pain Gate Theory. This suggests that the transmission of pain signals to the brain can be modulated by competing non-painful input. When TENS delivers electrical pulses, it travels along the nerve fibres. This can potentially block or modulate the transmission of pain messages to the brain. Hence, it reduces the perception of discomfort.

Moreover, the use of a TENS unit can stimulate the production and release of endorphins. These are the natural pain-relieving chemicals of the body. Endorphins act within the body to diminish the perception of ailment and create a sense of well-being. Nevertheless, the electrical impulses from TENS can trigger the release of endorphins, contributing to pain relief mechanisms.

In addition, TENS therapy can influence blood circulation in the targeted area. The electrical stimulation may facilitate vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels. This can enhance blood flow, potentially promoting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues. As a result of this activity, it can contribute to healing and provide a sense of relief from discomfort.

Low and High Frequencies

The TENS unit can operate on both low and high frequencies. When the TENS device is set to a low frequency, typically ranging from 2 to 10 Hz, it is believed to primarily target the sensory nerves. This is thought to prompt the release of endorphins. Nevertheless, this is beneficial for managing chronic conditions.

Conversely, high-frequency settings, generally above 50 Hz, are thought to predominantly affect the motor nerves. These high-frequency electrical currents from TENS may stimulate the pain gate mechanism. Hence, this approach is valuable for addressing acute conditions. Overall, these distinct frequency options provide versatility.

A shirtless man holding his nape and lower back due to pain

Types of Pain Suitable for Electro TENS Machine

The electro TENS machine is suitable for addressing various types of conditions. Firstly, TENS can help manage acute pain conditions, which is a temporary discomfort. This may result from period pain, postoperative pain, and sports injuries. Secondly, TENS therapy is beneficial for chronic pain conditions, which persist over an extended period. This may include neck pain, arthritic pain, and backaches.

Thirdly, TENS treatment is valuable for aiding nerve-related conditions. This may result from nerve damage or conditions like sciatica or diabetic neuropathy. Fourthly, individuals experiencing musculoskeletal pain, which involves discomfort in the ligaments, bones, and tendons, may benefit from TENS. This involves ailments like knee joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, TENS can potentially provide relief for individuals with muscle discomfort. This may arise from tension, strain, or overuse. TENS therapy provides a method for managing the ailment and promoting muscle relaxation. Overall, TENS treatment may provide individuals with a non-invasive and drug-free approach to managing conditions and promoting overall well-being.

Are There Potential Side Effects?

While TENS therapy is generally safe, there are still some minimal side effects that users should be aware of. Some individuals may experience skin irritation at the electrode placement sites. This can occur due to an allergic reaction to electrode pads or prolonged exposure to electrical impulses. To mitigate this, it is essential to check the pads and follow the pad placement and usage duration.

Additionally, some users may report a tingling or prickling sensation. While this is typically mild and transient, it is vital for individuals to adjust the TENS settings to a comfortable level. This is to avoid any discomfort.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the electro TENS machine is an innovative and effective solution for pain management. It is a wired or wireless device with various features that send electrical currents to the body. Health professionals and individuals commonly use this therapy. Consequently, TENS works by blocking the transmission of pain messages, triggering the release of endorphins, and improving blood circulation. Also, the electrical pulses from TENS can stream in low and high frequencies.

TENS treatment provides a multitude of benefits to users. It is versatile, non-invasive, drug-free, customisable, cost-effective, portable, and provides targeted relief. Furthermore, TENS therapy is suitable for various types of pain. This may include period pain, arthritis, sciatica, rheumatoid arthritis, and achy muscles. Nevertheless, while TENS is generally safe, it is crucial to know the potential side effects. TENS machines are available in the marketplace, including the online retailer iTENS Australia.

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