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

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TENS Electro Machine: What Is It Used For?

A long wing iTENS electrode and refill gel pads

Living with pain is challenging and affects physical and mental well-being. This is why many are interested in Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy. A TENS electro machine uses electrodes to deliver electrical stimulation to the body. Many use TENS to relieve chronic and acute pain. This includes conditions like fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy and arthritis. People may also use it for fractures, sprains, and strains.

TENS therapy is an alternative pain management method that people may benefit from using. It is drug-free and non-invasive, so many health professionals recommend it for patients. Nowadays, people may purchase personal units for convenient relief. Wired and wireless TENS products are available online, in pharmacies, and in medical supply stores. Nevertheless, people should still consult a medical professional before using it. This article will present what a TENS machine is, the conditions it treats, and how to use it.

What is TENS Electro Machine, and What is it Used for?

A TENS electro machine is an electrotherapy device people use to relieve various kinds of pain. It uses electrode pads to deliver electric currents to the skin. Generally, TENS machines have a frequency range of 1-150 Hz and an intensity range of 0-80 mA. TENS machines have adjustable settings, so users may adjust and customise them for optimal relief.

There are two types of TENS machines: wired and wireless. Wired or traditional units use lead cables to connect the electrode patches to the power source and controller. Meanwhile, wireless units use Bluetooth technology to enable the controller to adjust the electrode settings. Some also use smartphone applications and remove the need for separate controllers.

These are available online, in pharmacies, and in medical supply stores. People may buy them without prescriptions for convenient use. However, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before using this medical device. This helps ensure safety and can help the person understand how TENS works.

How it Works

  • Gate Control Theory of Pain: high-frequency stimulation causes spinal nerve fibres to block pain signals from reaching the brain. This is the mechanism suggested in this theory.
  • Endorphin production: low-frequency stimulation triggers the production of these natural pain reliever hormones. These build and reduce overall pain sensation. In addition, endorphins lessen inflammation and improve moods.
  • Massage-like effect: this is also caused by high frequencies. This increases blood flow to the area and relaxes tense muscles. However, it should not cause muscle contractions.
  • Targeted relief: people apply electrodes externally near or on the area of pain to provide targeted alleviation of aches.

A person wearing a long wing iTENS electrode for sciatica

What Conditions Can Be Treated Using TENS Electro Machine

People may use a TENS electro machine for various conditions. Many people use it in hospitals and pain clinics to alleviate chronic and acute pain conditions. In fact, it is an alternative pain management method that many use with other treatments.

TENS is effective in acute pain conditions. These are sudden or sharp pains that do not last over six months. However, they may become chronic pain conditions if left untreated. This includes sports injuries, like fractures, strains and sprains. Another example is period pain, which is commonly felt during the start of the menstrual cycle. Moreover, this includes various body aches, such as knee pain and neck pain.

Furthermore, individuals use TENS to relieve pain from different chronic conditions. Chronic pain is described as long-lasting pain that exceeds six months. One ailment is fibromyalgia. This causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, general fatigue, and tenderness. Another condition is diabetic neuropathy. This causes aches and numbness in the legs, hands, and feet. Lastly, arthritis causes stiffness and joint aches.

Advantages Over Other Treatment Methods

There are many advantages to using TENS over other treatment methods. Firstly, it is non-invasive. This eliminates the risks of infections and other complications that may occur after incisions. Secondly, it is drug-free. Today, many are trying to avoid pain medications because of their adverse effects.

Moreover, TENS is a portable device that does not require medical supervision to use. This means that people can use them in various locations and whenever it is convenient for them. Lastly, it is not addictive. This allows people to use this medical device multiple times without fear of developing a dependency.

A person placing an iTENS electrode on an elderly woman's wrist

How to Use a TENS Electro Unit

Using a TENS electro unit is a straightforward process. However, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before using TENS. They may advise on how to use the machine. Individuals may also read the instruction manual from the device manufacturer.

Before starting, the user must wash their skin with soap and water. This helps remove body oils. Moreover, electrode pads stick better on clean and dry skin. People may refer to an electrode placement guide or chart to know where to place the electrodes for their condition. Once the pads are secure, they may turn the machine on. It is ideal to start on low settings to avoid sudden shocks or discomfort. Afterwards, they may gradually increase the settings.

Generally, TENS sessions last between 20 to 30 minutes. This may vary from person to person, depending on their condition and the settings used. However, it is crucial to avoid overusing the machine. When the time elapses, the user must turn the machine off and remove the electrode patches.

Proper Pad Placement Guide

Proper pad placement is crucial for the effective delivery of electrical currents. Generally, users should place the electrode patches near or on the origin of the pain. For example, users place pads on the back of the neck, two inches below the skull, for neck pain.

Users should place electrode patches in muscle areas and avoid bones and joints. Moreover, they must not attach them to sensitive areas. This includes the spinal cord, throat, and chest. Lastly, they should refrain from placing pads on irritated, infected, or broken skin. Otherwise, it may worsen skin irritation and other conditions.

Conclusion

A TENS electro machine is a device that uses electrical pulses to trigger the body to alleviate pain. To deliver low-voltage electric currents, people apply electrodes near or on the source of the aches. Then, they adjust the settings to low or high frequencies. The former induces endorphin production, while the latter triggers spinal nerve fibres to block pain signals. This is effective for conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and diabetic neuropathy.

Many use TENS to reduce or replace their intake of pain medicines. After all, medication can cause adverse effects, like stomach bleeding and nausea. Fortunately, TENS has minimal side effects. However, consulting a healthcare professional for advice before using TENS is ideal. They may assess the condition and teach the person how to properly use the machine for their ailment. Many wired and wireless TENS machines are available in the market. One prospect is the iTENS from iTENS Australia.

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