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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Endorphinic TENS: The Need to Know

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Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has been widely used as a non-invasive pain management technique for various conditions. It uses low-voltage electrical currents to block pain signals and release natural painkillers like endorphins. Thus, endorphinic TENS aids in alleviating pain without the use of medications. This method minimises the risk of side effects or complications. It can also provide immediate relief. A thorough understanding of how the therapy works can help attain the most effective effective results.

Chronic pain affects millions of people daily. It is a condition that causes persistent pain lasting for months or even years. Therefore, it can significantly impact daily functioning and the overall quality of life. TENS therapy offers a drug-free pain management method that individuals can rely upon. In this article, we will explore all about TENS for pain management, including how it works and how to use the device.

What is an Endorphinic TENS?

Endorphinic TENS is a pain management method that uses electrical impulses to relieve chronic and acute pain conditions. It utilises a small device with adjustable settings and adhesive electrodes to deliver these impulses. When placed on the skin of the treatment area, the device stimulates the nerves, activating the natural mechanisms of the body against pain.

One of the functions of TENS therapy is the release of endorphins. They are natural chemicals produced by the brain that act as painkillers and mood enhancers. In particular, they bind to opioid receptors, inhibiting them from sending pain messages. This results in a reduction in pain perception and an overall sense of well-being.

The TENS machine is portable and convenient to use. The device allows individuals to apply it directly to specific pain areas, providing localised relief. This makes it suitable for use at home, work, or even during physical activities. Furthermore, its adjustable settings allow users to customise the intensity and frequency of the electrical pulses. Hence, it provides personalised pain relief tailored to individual needs.

Treatable Conditions

  • Neuropathic pain: Conditions affecting the nerves, such as diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Musculoskeletal pain: Pain in the muscles, bones, ligaments, joints, and tendons. These conditions include arthritis and fibromyalgia. They can also be caused by injuries, such as sprains, strains, and overuse.
  • Post-operative pain: TENS can be used to manage pain and discomfort after surgical procedures. It helps provide relief as the tissues take time to heal and regain functionality.
  • Menstrual pain: Intense abdominal cramping during menstruation. Some pain may radiate to the lower back.
  • Degenerative disc disease: Conditions affecting the intervertebral discs in the spine, causing chronic pain and discomfort.

A person assisting an elderly woman on putting a TENS machine on the wrist

How Does Endorphinic TENS Work?

Endorphinic TENS works using several action mechanisms to provide pain relief. One of the main functions of TENS is the pain gate mechanism. According to the Gate Control Theory, non-painful stimuli, like electrical pulses, activate the large nerve fibres in the spinal cord. In effect, it closes the “gate” in the spinal cord in which pain signals pass. This prevents pain signals from reaching the brain.

Another way TENS works is through the production of endorphins. The electrical stimulation induces the release of endorphins, which can provide therapeutic relief that can last for hours. Moreover, the pleasant tingling sensations give a relaxing effect to the muscles. This alleviates muscle tension, soreness, and spasms.

In addition, TENS machines increase blood flow in areas with poor circulation. It delivers more oxygen and nutrients that help damaged tissues recover faster. As a result, it promotes healing and reduces inflammation in the affected area. However, it is vital to remember that the effects of TENS vary from person to person. Customising the settings is advisable to find optimal results.

Benefits

TENS therapy provides numerous benefits for pain management. Firstly, it is a non-invasive method of treatment. It does not require needles that can be uncomfortable. Secondly, it is completely drug-free. This makes it a suitable alternative for individuals who prefer non-medicated pain relief or who want to avoid the potential side effects of medicines.

Additionally, it provides immediate pain relief without any risk of dependency. It is also a cost-effective option compared to other pain management options. It minimises the need to go to regular therapy sessions. The portability of TENS devices allows individuals to use them whenever and wherever they need.

iTENS wireless TENS machine in small wings

How to Apply Endorphinic TENS

To use an endorphinic TENS machine, there are several preparations and steps to follow. Before applying the device, make sure to clean and dry the skin surface to ensure good contact and optimal stimulation. Avoid applying the device over broken or irritated skin. The next step is to set up the device by attaching the cables to the electrode pads. TENS machines with wireless electrodes may connect to a smartphone app.

Subsequently, position the electrode pads on the pain area according to the instructions of the manufacturer or healthcare professional. Ensure the device is off before attaching the pads. Once in place, turn on the TENS unit and adjust the settings. Users may set the intensity and duration according to their preference or type of pain.

Start with a low intensity and gradually increase it until it provides a comfortable tingling sensation without any pain. The treatment time may last between 15 to 30 minutes. After use, turn off the device first before removing the pads. Individuals who need further treatment may continue with the therapy after 20 minutes.

Safety Considerations

While TENS therapy is generally safe, there are some precautions to keep in mind. Individuals with medical conditions like epilepsy, heart problems, or implanted devices should avoid using the device unless directed by a healthcare provider. Pregnant women should also consult their obstetrician before use.

It is also important to avoid extreme intensity levels, as it may cause harm or discomfort. Moreover, individuals should not apply the device over the eyes, mouth, or on the front of the neck. Likewise, it is not suitable to use the machine while showering, sleeping, driving, or operating heavy machinery.

Conclusion

Electrical stimulation, particularly endorphinic TENS, is a non-invasive and drug-free method of pain management. It works by stimulating the release of endorphins, natural hormones with analgesic mechanisms. Endorphins can provide significant pain alleviation and improve mood. Therefore, it helps manage various pain conditions without the use of medications. Additionally, the TENS machine provides numerous benefits, including the ability to tailor treatment according to individual needs. It is easy to operate and does not require professional supervision.

Before using the device, individuals should determine the proper electrode placement for optimal stimulation. Health professionals also emphasise the importance of using the right levels of frequency and intensity to ensure safety and effectiveness. In particular, avoid using extremely high intensities to prevent skin irritation and other discomforts. Adhering to other safety precautions also helps avoid other risks or side effects. For best results, consult a healthcare provider for advice.

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