Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a form of pain management that uses electrical currents to reduce pain. The Gate Control Theory of pain management supports this method. A TENS device employs electrode pads to transfer low-voltage electrical currents through the skin and into nerves. The constant electrical nerve stimulation on a painful site then blocks pain signals from reaching the brain, reducing or negating the pain. TENS therapy can treat all sorts of pain from all kinds of conditions. It can treat pain in the neck, shoulder, lower back, and knees. It may also treat pain coming from sciatica, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. With its wide array of uses, many have started asking; How long can I use a TENS machine for?
How Long Can I Use a TENS Machine For: Acute Vs Chronic
So, How long can I use a TENS machine for acute (short-term) pain? Acute pain regularly comes from recent soft tissue (muscle) injuries or overuse. This pain can be mild, moderate, or intense and is treatable via a TENS machine. When treating acute pain, one should take note of the length of treatments. Effective acute pain treatments could span from 20 minutes up to 60 minutes. The length of time allows for an adequate amount of nerve stimulation to occur. It is recommendable to stop TENS therapy a few minutes after feeling complete relief from pain. Pre-set settings from devices like the wireless iTENS unit could also drastically help effective treatment times.
How long can I use a TENS machine for chronic (long-term) pain? Chronic pain involves pain that has been going on for a long time. This pain regularly comes from conditions that are typically uncurable. Arthritis, for example, is an incurable yet manageable condition. Pain management is crucial for people who have situations like these mainly because it could affect their day-to-day lives. Effective machines like the wireless iTENS could drastically affect the quality of life for people struggling with chronic conditions. TENS treatment should regularly be 20 to 30 minutes long for these types of users. This time length allows for optimal comfort to be given as well as prevent any irritation after treatment.
Other than the length of treatment, the question of “how long can I use a TENS machine for?” also depends on a person’s tolerance. One should discontinue treatment when one starts to experience an abnormal amount of redness. Despite not having any side effects, users should still be cautious when using TENS machines because electricity runs through them. The wireless iTENS is one of the safest options available, given that it also has FDA approval.