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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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TENS Instrument: How It Helps to Improve the Quality of Life?

A large and long wing iTENS and refill gel pads

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS instrument is an electronic device that streams electrical impulses as a method of pain relief. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation helps improve the quality of life by blocking the transmission of pain signals. Also, it stimulates the release of endorphins and enhances blood flow. Furthermore, TENS therapy provides a non-invasive and drug-free pain management approach. The device is also customisable, portable, and easy to use.

Living with the feeling of pain can have a significant impact on daily life. Medications can provide temporary relief, but they often come with various side effects. As a result, many individuals are turning to alternative methods to manage their discomfort and improve their overall quality of life. The TENS unit is a prime example of such an effective method. This article will present the TENS therapy instrument, including how it works and how to operate it.

Benefits of TENS Instrument

One of the key benefits of the TENS instrument is its versatility. It can be used to address a wide range of conditions. Accordingly, TENS therapy is a non-invasive, natural pain relief. It does not require surgery or other invasive procedures. In addition, TENS is drug-free. This means that individuals can manage their discomfort without relying on medication, which has potential side effects.

The TENS unit has adjustable pulse settings. It allows users to modify the pulse amplitudes, pulse width, and pulse duration. Hence, this feature enables individuals to personalise their treatment experience. Portability is another key benefit of TENS. Its small size and lightweight design make it easy to use at home, work, or on the go. This provides flexibility to incorporate TENS into daily routines.

Moreover, TENS is cost-effective. It eliminates the ongoing cost of medications or frequent visits to medical practitioners. Furthermore, TENS can be used as an adjunctive treatment. It can complement other pain management strategies. Finally, TENS therapy carries minimal risk of side effects. Thus, it makes it a relatively safe option for individuals.

What Conditions Can It Help Manage?

  • Acute pain conditions: TENS therapy can provide relief for discomfort resulting from labour pain, postoperative pain, primary dysmenorrhoea, and injuries.
  • Chronic pain conditions: TENS can offer ongoing support for conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, neck pain, shoulder pain, and backaches.
  • Neuropathic pain: this arises from damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. TENS can help manage conditions like diabetic neuropathy, nerve entrapment syndromes, and sciatica.
  • Musculoskeletal pain: this stems from conditions affecting the muscles, bones, or tendons. It may include osteoarthritis pain, joint pain, or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Muscle discomfort: it is characterised by localised or widespread discomfort in the muscles.

A woman using TENS on her lower back

How Does a TENS Instrument Work?

The TENS instrument delivers electric currents to specific areas of the body to promote relief. This electric stimulation works in different mechanisms. When TENS sends an electrical current, it can activate the production and release of endorphins. These are the natural pain-relieving chemicals of the body. Moreover, endorphins can induce a sense of well-being.

Another way in which TENS operates is by engaging the pain gate mechanism. When the TENS unit delivers electrical energy, it can help close the “pain gate” in the spinal cord. This effectively blocks or reduces the transmission of pain signals to the brain. As a result, this mechanism helps diminish the sensation of pain in people and provides comfort.

Furthermore, TENS can influence blood flow in the targeted area. By delivering electrical impulses, the unit can improve blood circulation. This can promote the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues. Additionally, this action can assist in the removal of waste products. Hence, it contributes to the overall healing process and potentially reduces discomfort.

Understanding Low and High Frequencies

TENS units utilise both low and high frequencies to provide therapeutic benefits. Low-frequency TENS typically operates at a frequency below 10 Hz. This setting is often associated with the activation of the natural relief mechanisms of the body, particularly the release of endorphins. Nevertheless, this is beneficial for managing chronic conditions.

On the other hand, high-frequency TENS operates at frequencies above 50 Hz. This setting is thought to impact the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Hence, this approach is valuable for alleviating discomfort associated with acute conditions. Overall, both frequencies offer distinct therapeutic effects.

A woman operating TENS manually without the use of phone

How to Operate a TENS Instrument

Operating a TENS instrument is a straightforward process. Before using the unit, check the battery status or power source. This is to ensure that the device has sufficient power for operation. Additionally, attach the electrode pads to the central unit using the lead wires. Alternatively, connect it to a smartphone or tablet for wireless TENS. Next, identify the area of the body experiencing discomfort.

Clean the skin to remove oils, lotions, or sweat. Once the skin is clean and dry, apply the electrodes. Adhering to the proper electrode placement is crucial for targeting the intended area. Then, turn on the device. Most TENS offer various settings and program options. Hence, modify the settings (frequency, intensity, and duration) or choose a pre-set program that targets the specific condition.

Professionals recommend starting with the lowest setting and moderately increasing it to a comfortable intensity. During the therapy, it is essential to pay attention to the responses of the body. The duration of the treatment may vary depending on specific needs. Typically, it lasts 15 to 30 minutes. Once the TENS session is complete, turn off the device and remove the electrode pads.

Safety Precautions

Before using TENS, individuals should consult a health professional. This is to determine if TENS therapy is suitable for their specific condition. Accordingly, ensure that the device is in good working condition. In placing the electrodes, do not position the pads on certain areas of the body. This may include the head, eyes, mouth, throat, chest, bony regions, broken skin, and open wounds.

Additionally, avoid starting the TENS therapy with high settings. This can cause electrical shock and further discomfort. Furthermore, monitor for any adverse reactions during or after the treatment. If any symptoms occur, discontinue use and seek guidance from a medical professional.

Conclusion

Overall, a TENS instrument is an essential and effective device for managing discomfort. It is a unit that delivers electrical currents to the body to provide relief. Nevertheless, it offers numerous benefits. It is versatile, non-invasive, drug-free, adjustable, portable, cost-effective, and can be used as an adjunctive treatment. Accordingly, it works based on the pain gate mechanism, the release of endorphins, and improving blood flow. Also, the electrical pulses can stream in low and high frequencies.

With such mechanisms, TENS can help manage various conditions. This may include labour pain, backaches, diabetic neuropathy, osteoarthritis, and muscle discomfort. To operate the device, one needs to prepare the unit. Then, locate the treatment region, place the pads, and adjust the settings. However, it is crucial to follow the safety precautions for optimal TENS therapy. Those who want to purchase a TENS machine may check out the online retailer iTENS Australia.

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