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

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TENS for Period Pain: Is It Safe and Effective?

Woman holding her stomach on a sofa

Period pain or dysmenorrhoea is a painful condition that may occur at the start of the menstrual period. As such, many women find various remedies to relieve the discomfort. One of the treatments is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS for period pain. This device is small and easy to use. It has been shown to be safe and effective in reducing pain for many women. However, it requires careful operation to ensure safety.

Menstrual pain can be intense and debilitating for some women. It usually affects the lower abdomen and may extend to the back and legs. For severe periods, it can affect the quality of life. Thus, it is vital to find effective pain relief without risks or side effects. TENS therapy offers a drug-free alternative to over-the-counter medications. In this article, we will explore the safety of using TENS machines for period pain, their effectiveness, and general reminders for safe use.

Is It Safe to Use TENS for Period Pain?

A TENS machine is a battery-operated device that sends electrical stimulation through electrodes attached to the skin. The low-voltage electrical currents are modulated up to a certain level so they will not cause any harm. Thus, it is generally safe to use and does not produce long-term side effects. In addition, many use it for various pain conditions without any problem.

TENS for period pain has been shown to be safe for most people, including women with chronic conditions like endometriosis. When used, the electrical pulses feel like gentle tingling or prickling sensations. These pulses help stimulate the body’s natural painkillers, minimising the need for oral analgesics.

Moreover, the device is applied externally by placing the electrode pads on the pain area. Hence, it does not risk harming the vital organs or nearby tissues. Additionally, a TENS machine has controllable settings. Individuals may adjust the frequency and intensity according to their comfort level for effective relief. In this way, it uses the right amount of stimulation and poses no serious risks or injuries to the nerves.

Benefits

  • TENS can provide immediate pain relief within minutes of using the machine.
  • The electrical impulses can help reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps.
  • It reduces the need for medications, which can have side effects.
  • It is a non-invasive method of pain relief. The electrode pads stick firmly to the skin without leaving permanent marks.
  • Users can control the settings according to their needs.
  • TENS is a versatile form of pain management. Aside from period cramps, it can help treat acute and chronic conditions like arthritis, sciatica, and muscle strains.
  • It is a medical device that can be used at home without professional supervision.

Wireless TENS machine large wings

 Is TENS for Period Pain Effective?

The effectiveness of TENS for period pain has been studied extensively in several clinical trials. This includes the use of the right amount of stimulation and proper pad placement. However, it is vital to note that the effects of TENS therapy may vary between individuals. Some may experience pain relief while using the machine, while others may not detect improvements in their symptoms.

The efficacy of TENS treatment also depends on several factors. This includes the type of menstrual cramps, their intensity, and the duration of use. Many women stated in online reviews that using TENS shows significant pain reductions versus not using any pain relief methods. Furthermore, those who used it regularly experienced greater overall relief.

Pain specialists may also recommend using a TENS machine with other pain management to enhance its effects. This includes physical therapy, acupuncture, and heat therapy. For example, combining it with stretching exercises for the lower back can help reduce tension in the back muscles and alleviate spasms and cramps.

How It Works

The mechanisms of TENS for relieving pain are based on the Gate Control Theory of Pain and Endogenous Opioids System. The Gate Control Theory suggests that certain types of nerves in the spinal cord can block the transmission of pain signals. TENS stimulates these nerves to close, blocking the signals from reaching the brain.

The second method is using low-frequency to trigger endorphin production. They are hormones the body releases when it perceives pain and stress. They help suppress pain by inhibiting the nerve cells that send messages to the brain. Lastly, TENS boosts circulation, delivering more oxygen to inflamed areas.

Woman holding her stomach while standing

TENS for Period Pain: General Reminders

When using TENS for period pain, there are several reminders to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to read and follow the instructions provided by the TENS unit. This will ensure correct and safe use. It is also advisable to start with a low-intensity level and gradually increase it as needed.

Secondly, position the electrode pads on muscles near the pain area. For period pain, the placement should be on the lower abdomen or lower back. However, it may vary from person to person. Also, avoid putting the electrodes directly on the spine or too close to the pubic region. Other places to avoid are anywhere near the head, throat, and infected skin.

TENS therapy provides temporary pain relief. It can help reduce the severity of the pain but may not eliminate it completely. Follow the recommended treatment duration to avoid overstimulation. Lastly, avoid using the device while bathing, sleeping, or driving. Exposing the machine to water may cause electrical shocks and damage the device.

When to See a Doctor

For people with severe pain, it is vital to seek medical attention to ensure proper treatment. Intense pain may be due to an underlying condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids. These conditions often tend to aggravate menstrual pain. By consulting a healthcare professional, they can properly diagnose the condition and develop a suitable treatment plan.

Moreover, some people may develop allergic reactions while using TENS. This may be due to the adhesives of the pads or the sensitivity of the skin. Typically, the symptoms disappear after removing the pads. However, if the side effects persist, discontinue use and see a doctor.

Conclusion

TENS for period pain is a safe and effective method for relieving intense cramps and abdominal discomfort. It offers natural pain relief through mild electrical impulses. Hence, it minimises the need for oral medications and its associated side effects. It works by stimulating the sensory nerves to block pain signals and releasing endorphins. The pulses also help ease muscle tension and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, it is vital to follow the guidelines for safe and effective use.

When using the device, ensure the electrode pads are properly applied to the target area. Avoid placing them on broken or infected skin to prevent further damage. Moreover, do not use extreme intensity levels that may cause further pain. These guidelines are easy to follow and will enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. Lastly, people with period pain must seek medical advice if they have underlying conditions before using a TENS machine.

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