Physiotherapy and health clinics have been utilising electrotherapy for more than 50 years. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a therapy specifically for pain management. People with acute or chronic pain traditionally go to pain clinics to help alleviate their condition. Many people with chronic health conditions want pain relief that is effective yet safe in long-term use. It is administered using a device called a TENS machine. Therapists or rehabilitation specialists also use a TENS machine to help patients recover from an accident or post-surgery. Similarly, obstetricians and midwives recommend using a TENS machine to help expecting women manage labour pain. TENS therapy provides safe and natural pain relief with no side effects. Doctors often suggest hiring a TENS machine for pregnant women to prepare for labour.
Safety during pregnancy and labour is a top priority for many women. Thus, many people are seeking an effective yet risk-free method of pain relief. An excellent solution is buying a personal device rather than hiring a TENS machine. A TENS machine consists of self-adhesive electrode pads placed on the painful area of the body. When the machine is turned on, it delivers mild electrical impulses through the skin to reach the underlying nerves. Devices like the iTENS from iTENS Australia are valuable in alleviating various pain symptoms and labour discomfort. The following section will provide information about TENS and how it can help during pregnancy and labour.
The Functions of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
TENS therapy utilises low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the underlying nerves in the painful body area. These electrical impulses flood the nervous system and ultimately reduce pain perception. If you are contemplating buying or hiring a TENS machine, it helps to know how it works. A TENS machine serves two main functions:
- Pain Gating – pain signals travel from the body to the brain through the spinal cord. The Gate Control Theory of Pain states that the spinal cord has a bundle of nerve fibres that act as gate controllers. During TENS treatment, the electrical stimulation causes the “neural gates” to close, blocking the pain signals. When the brain receives fewer pain messages, the body perceives less pain. A TENS machine operates on a high frequency of 50-100 Hz or more to activate the pain gating mechanism.
- Endorphin Release – a TENS machine uses low-frequency stimulation of 10 Hz or lower to produce more endorphins. Endorphins have pain-relieving properties similar to oral analgesics like morphine. They activate the inhibitory nerve cells, which prevent pain stimuli or signal processing in the brain. As a result, they help reduce pain sensation. Health experts also call them natural painkillers and “feel-good” hormones because they help reduce stress and anxiety and improve the sense of well-being.
Hiring a TENS Machine: Kinds of TENS Devices
There are two main types of TENS devices: wired and wireless. Traditional TENS machines have electrode pads connected to a handheld controller through wires. Most treatment centres and clinics use a wired TENS machine. However, modern devices like the iTENS incorporate digital technology into TENS therapy. The iTENS from iTENS Australia offers a wireless TENS machine for more convenient pain relief. The device can be used alone or through a smartphone app via a Bluetooth connection. Moreover, a TENS machine is a compact battery-operated unit allowing individuals to manage pain anywhere. When buying or hiring a TENS machine, you may want to consider wired or wireless TENS. Both TENS machines deliver electrical stimulation, but the treatment experience may vary. For labour pain relief, using a wireless TENS machine provides more comfort and flexibility.
When hiring a TENS machine for labour, it is essential to use maternity-specific devices. Labour TENS units help manage pain through pre-set programs. Additionally, you may want to get a device that is labour-friendly and suitable for many pain conditions. The iTENS wireless TENS unit provides numerous programs for labour, nerve pain, muscle pain, and generalised body aches. Therefore, it is more cost-efficient.
Buying or Hiring a TENS Machine: Managing Labour Pain
Women experience body aches and discomfort during pregnancy. As the uterus expands, blood pressure, water retention and body weight increase. It results in pain in the lower back, abdomen, groin area, and thighs. Many women also experience aches near the pelvic bone due to pressure from the baby’s head and loosening of the joints. Therefore, many women seek various procedures to help relieve pain during labour. One method is an epidural. It is an injection in the back to stop feeling pain. Alternatively, a TENS machine provides a secure and non-invasive solution to relieve discomfort in the lower abdomen and lumbar region. This is why many women are buying or hiring a TENS machine to relieve pain without the side effects of oral medicines or intrusive procedures. In addition, many studies show that a TENS machine during childbirth has the following results:
- Using a TENS machine during the early stages of labour gives more time for the body to release endorphins.
- The electrical currents at a high pulse rate prevent the pain signals from reaching the brain.
- The tingling sensation provides a distraction from the contractions.
- Boost blood and oxygen flow that helps soothe muscles and nerves.
Using a TENS Machine in Labour
Hiring a TENS machine is a practical option if the goal is to go for an all-natural, non-invasive, and drug-free birth. However, investing in one can be more beneficial in the long term. In addition, it is advisable to discuss using a TENS machine with your doctor or midwife for proper guidance. To use TENS, healthcare professionals recommend using a TENS unit during the early stage of labour. It occurs when you begin to feel persistent contractions. Likewise, the contractions become stronger and more frequent over time and may radiate to the lower back and the legs.
To begin TENS treatment, place one set of electrode pads below the bra line. You may position the TENS pads approximately 4cm on either side of the spine. However, avoid placing the electrodes directly over the spinal cord. Then, you may place another set on the lower back above the dimple area of the buttocks. Studies show that TENS therapy helps relieve lower back discomfort the most, among other pain relief methods. Moreover, it is essential not to place the TENS pads over the belly or abdomen when giving birth. You may have a birthing partner assist in positioning the TENS electrode pads. Meanwhile, the iTENS offer convenient pad placement through its wireless electrode pads and hassle-free setup. Buying or hiring a TENS machine before the estimated due date can help you prepare to use TENS.
TENS Machine Setting for Labour
You may use a TENS machine for labour pain relief at home or in the hospital. Therefore, knowing how to use a TENS machine is essential, especially for a home birth. When hiring a TENS machine, most labour TENS comes with a boost function to aid during peak contractions. Many women report that TENS therapy is most effective in the first stages of labour. After placing the electrode pads, switch on the device to begin the stimulation. It is best to start with the lowest intensity and gradually increase as the contractions get stronger and longer. Furthermore, since pain and pain relief varies individually, you may use the iTENS manual settings to find the most optimal results. Through the iTENS smartphone app, you may access the following:
- Burst mode – the impulses are delivered at 2 Hz per second.
- Continuous mode – the interval rate and length of impulses are fixed and steady.
- Modulation mode – the pulse rates are modulated from low to high frequency, while the duration shifts every six seconds. This cycle repeats automatically.
Buying or hiring a TENS machine for labour allows you to control the level of pain relief. For example, you may use the burst mode to deliver high stimulation during intense cramping. Moreover, studies show that high frequency in modified duration significantly lowers pain perception while shortening the active labour phase.
Benefits of TENS Therapy for Labour
TENS therapy is proven safe and effective for alleviating pain and discomfort during labour. Buying or hiring a TENS machine helps many women feel in control of their delivery. Additionally, many factors contribute to pain relief using a TENS machine. These benefits are:
- Drug-free alternative. It reduces pain without the adverse side effects of oral medicines.
- Non-invasive. it does not involve needles like anesthesia or other intrusive procedures.
- It does not interfere with labour
- It is safe for the mother and baby
- You can control the level of stimulation
- You can freely move while using the device (especially with wireless units like the iTENS)
- It can be used at home or before going to the hospital
- Anyone can use it without the assistance of a nurse, doctor, or midwife.
- The machine is easy to operate.
iTENS: The Wireless TENS Machine
Safety and ease of use are the main considerations when choosing the appropriate pain management tools for any condition. TENS machines are medical devices that do not need professional supervision. Therefore, buying or hiring a TENS machine is easy. You may use it at home or anywhere whenever pain strikes. Moreover, a wireless TENS machine like the iTENS maximises portability and efficiency. The iTENS from iTENS Australia is the world’s first wireless TENS device for pain relief. Instead of wired connections, the iTENS utilises Bluetooth technology to perform nerve stimulation. In addition, the wireless electrode pads are Bluetooth-capable, pairing seamlessly with a smartphone app. Lastly, the iTENS uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are cost-efficient in the long run.
The wireless iTENS operates in two ways. Firstly, you may use the iTENS unit as a standalone device. Simply turn the machine on by pressing the power button on the device (the white disc). The machine will immediately produce a tingling sensation, which is firm but not uncomfortable. You may increase or decrease the intensity on the device. Secondly, you can control the iTENS from your smartphone. Using the iTENS app enables you to access the pre-set programs for convenient use. Likewise, you may manually adjust the pulse rate, duration, and waveforms to find the most effective results. If you want to use a wireless TENS machine, you may find that buying the iTENS is better than hiring a TENS machine.
Buying or Hiring a TENS Machine: Electrode Pads
The kinds of electrode pads are vital in choosing between buying or hiring a TENS machine. Traditional TENS devices use wired electrode pads. However, they are prone to wire entanglement or breakage, which needs constant replacement. Thus, they can affect pain treatment. Many users experience the inconvenience of untangling messy wires before use. Meanwhile, the iTENS device enables fast and efficient therapy using wireless electrodes. The iTENS electrodes have an innovative wing-shaped design that fits common pain areas in the body. Furthermore, the pads are coated in a gel that adheres firmly to the skin without causing permanent marks. Also, the iTENS pads are hypoallergenic, minimising the risks of harsh skin reaction or irritation.
Considering the electrode pads is essential when buying or hiring a TENS machine. A wireless TENS machine allows you to place the electrode pads easily, especially in hard-to-reach areas. To use the iTENS for labour pain, peel the protective cover off the gel pad and put them on clean, dry skin. Position the pads correctly on the lower back, and the device is ready for use. Hence, no complicated setup or extra time is needed when starting the treatment. For labour pain, we recommend using the iTENS large wings for maximum pain coverage. It is suitable for broad areas like the lower back and thighs. iTENS Australia also offers the iTENS small wings for treating small or joint areas and the iTENS long strip wings for pain that radiates downward like sciatica.
Guide to iTENS App
Most labour TENS units you get when hiring a TENS machine are connected to a handheld controller. Many pregnant women use a strap when using the device. Meanwhile, the wireless iTENS is an app-controlled unit through a smartphone. The iTENS app is compatible with most iOS and Android devices. Therefore, you can manage labour pain and other symptoms from your mobile phone. You may find using the iTENS app easier than a wired TENS machine. By selecting the built-in programs, you can immediately treat pain. Moreover, the iTENS app offers user-friendly functions that you can use with ease. The iTENS app includes the following features:
- Pre-set Body modes – you may choose the therapy according to pain in various body parts. It includes eleven programs with fixed parameters in regions such as the back, hands, legs, and feet.
- Pre-set Conditions modes – the app features thirteen programs for several health conditions, including nerve pain, muscle pain, and acute and chronic ailments.
- Manual mode – you may set your treatment manually by programming the pulse rate, duration, and waveforms. In addition, you may save the customised setting and access them for subsequent uses.
- Tracking – you may track your total usage time to help monitor your TENS sessions.
Buying or Hiring a TENS Machine: What Can TENS Therapy Treat
Many women opt for buying or hiring a TENS machine to help alleviate labour pain. Fortunately, TENS therapy is also beneficial for reducing pain symptoms from various body aches or underlying health illnesses. People with chronic pain need not regularly go to a doctor or clinic to manage their condition. TENS therapy can help relieve pain from the following:
Body Aches – due to muscle overuse, inactivity, or injuries
Acute pain – pain that lasts no more than three months
- Menstrual cramps
- Labour pain
- Pulled muscles
Chronic pain – pain that persists for more than three months
- Arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankle tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Migraines or cluster headaches
- Diabetes-related neuropathy
- Peripheral artery disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Peripheral nerve injury
Advantages of Buying vs Hiring a TENS Machine
Pain affects many people daily and may interrupt their normal routine. Hence, many people seek medical attention to help manage mild to intense pain. Hiring a TENS machine is an excellent idea if someone is unsure how the device works. Many labour TENS for hire offer the device at an affordable rate than buying a new one. In addition, most TENS machines for rent are available for 6 to 7-week periods. After which, you need to return the unit, or you may incur late fees or penalties. However, buying a personal TENS like the iTENS from iTENS Australia is more practical and economical for long-term use.
You may use a TENS machine after labour to help with post-birth conditions, such as uterine contractions and pelvic floor disorders. TENS therapy can help stimulate weakened muscle fibres, soothe soreness following a caesarean section, neck and shoulder pain from breastfeeding, and other back discomforts. Additionally, you may use a TENS machine for various pain conditions, like those listed above. Moreover, you may use a TENS machine multiple times from one set of electrode pads before they eventually lose their adhesiveness. The TENS pads, like that of the iTENS, are reusable and interchangeable. You may switch between different pad sizes to help treat pain in various body areas. Furthermore, iTENS Australia offers low-cost refill gel pads and spare wing kits when your gel pads need replacement. Therefore, buying a TENS machine is more cost-effective than hiring a TENS machine.
Buying or Hiring a TENS Machine: Risks and Safety Guidelines
TENS therapy is regarded as generally safe for most people. The electrical charges from a TENS machine are firm to stimulate the nervous system, yet mild and painless not to cause further harm or damage. However, users still must observe safety precautions for effective and risk-free pain management. It is vital to consult with your physician before buying or hiring a TENS machine. For instance, TENS therapy is not advisable if you have an irritable uterus, have a history of miscarriage, or have complications with your current pregnancy. Likewise, a TENS machine is not suitable for people with the following conditions:
- Heart conditions or ailments
- Blood clots
- Electronic devices implanted like a cardiac pacemaker and defibrillator
- During pregnancy (first 36 weeks), except in the early stages of labour
- While sleeping, driving, or operating machinery
Additionally, avoid placing the electrode pads on the following areas:
- Over the spinal cord
- Any portion of the head
- On the chest and back simultaneously
- On the abdomen at any time during pregnancy or labour
- In shower, birth pool, or near bodies of water
- On broken, numb, or infected skin; areas that lack normal sensation
Buying or Hiring a TENS Machine: Availability of TENS Devices
Modern TENS units are portable and accessible. Hiring a TENS machine is an option if you want to try TENS therapy first. However, you must ensure to return the unit on time, or you may accumulate penalties. However, buying a TENS machine is more economical if you plan to have multiple births. Fortunately, you do not need to go to clinics or hire a TENS machine to employ TENS therapy. Devices like the iTENS are widely available in Australia. The iTENS is a trusted pain relief device by Australia’s leading pain specialists for acute and chronic pain. Furthermore, you may purchase a TENS machine without a medical prescription. The iTENS wireless TENS device is available directly at iTENS Australia online. You may also avail of various TENS accessories for versatile pain treatment.
TENS therapy for various conditions, including labour pain, is a safe and effective way to manage pain. As a result, many people opt for using a TENS machine as an alternative to oral drugs. Moreover, a wireless device like the iTENS offers more comfort and efficiency. The wireless electrode pads of the iTENS are lightweight and flexible. Thus, it adheres firmly despite movements. You may wear the iTENS wireless electrodes underneath clothing while remaining discreet. Therefore, you can readily use the iTENS wireless TENS machine at the onset of pain. Furthermore, buying rather than hiring a TENS machine is a good investment as you may use it after birth for general pain relief or muscle relaxation. You may get the wireless iTENS at iTENS Australia to experience effective and long-lasting pain treatment.