Musculoskeletal pains in the neck are among the most common pain conditions. Many risk factors and conditions cause these discomforts. However, most pains involving the neck can be excruciating, whatever the cause. As a result, many seek alternative treatments when home remedies and OTC medications are ineffective. One such treatment is TENS electrotherapy. Many use TENS machines to alleviate their neck pains. TENS therapy is as simple as placing an electrode in the correct position and turning the device on.
This article will cover the causes of neck pain, how Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy works, and how people use it to treat their neck pains. Alternative therapies such as TENS are becoming more prevalent as people seek more convenient, non-invasive measures to manage and alleviate their neck pain. Chronic neck pain is potentially debilitating, and there is no single remedy. Electrotherapy through iTENS from iTENS Australia is among the many effective alternative options.
TENS Machine for Neck Pain – The Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can present in various forms and arise from multiple sources. Among these is poor posture from chronic and improper computer or phone use, or even hunching over a workbench. These situations put extra strain on the neck muscles. Furthermore, inappropriate sleeping may tighten specific muscles, resulting in the standard stiff neck. In most cases, people seek pain management methods like a TENS machine for neck pain relief.
Symptoms of neck pain include headaches, decreased head mobility, muscle tightness and spasms and pain that worsens when the head does not move. Severe neck pain conditions may continue for days, causing persistent weakness, numbness, and pains running down the shoulders and arms. The most common causes of neck pain are injuries such as whiplash, work neck joints, muscle strains, herniated discs and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, many look to alternative treatments like TENS electrotherapy for immediate relief.
Furthermore, several risk factors for neck pain can be alleviated by regular exercise, proper posture, and avoiding smoking. Specific stretches help prevent and relieve neck pains, such as chin tucks and neck rotations. A TENS machine for neck pain works best when used with these methods. Allowing for more neck mobility and flexibility while relieving pressure on the muscles and spine.
Neck Pain Management Tips
- Find a comfortable pillow that is soft enough to be comfortable but firm enough to avoid strain
- Adjust the environment to encourage better posture
- Exercise to strengthen and keep neck muscles flexible
- Avoid smoking as nicotine reduces circulation in the spine
- Avoid heavy repetitive tasks if you have any neck pains
TENS Machine for Neck Pain – How Does TENS Therapy Work
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is electrotherapy used to relieve various pain conditions, including neck pains. Physiotherapists have been using TENS for this purpose since the 60s. TENS therapy is done through a TENS device. This device directly stimulates the nerves through low-voltage electrical currents applied through externally placed electrode pads. Furthermore, using a TENS machine for neck pain is relatively safe compared to other treatments, and patients can use newer TENS machine models without medical assistance.
TENS devices relieve pain in two ways depending on the frequency setting of the electric currents. TENS machines ease pain through the pain gating method when set to higher frequencies. According to this pain gate control theory, electrical stimulation closes the pain gates effectively. As a result, reducing the number of pain stimuli reaching the brain. Comparatively, lower frequency settings on a TENS device induce more endorphin production in the body to relieve anxiety and pain.
Furthermore, a modern TENS machine for neck pain may also use higher electric current frequencies to stimulate muscle and improve blood circulation to heal damaged neck muscles. Lastly, TENS therapy is generally safe for many people looking for non-invasive and drug-free treatment methods for neck pain. In addition, TENS therapy typically achieves immediate results after the first ten minutes of treatment.
Additional Benefits of Using TENS
- Useful for post-operative or acute pain – patients using TENS during the first few days after surgery report a reduced need for analgesics.
- Diabetic peripheral Neuropathy – reduces numbness in this condition.
- Helps with Inflammation – TENS reduces pain sensation to swelling or inflamed muscles and improves circulation.
TENS Machine for Neck Pain – How to Use a TENS
Though safe for home use, users should follow a few precautions when applying a TENS machine for neck pain. For instance, the skin of the pain area must be clean and dry. This is to prevent the electrode pads from slipping and avoid reactions from electric currents coming into contact with moisture. In addition, TENS therapy is usually applied in 20-30 minute sessions, with 20-30 minute breaks in between. This measure helps users avoid overstimulation and possible skin damage.
Precise pad placement is essential for complete and adequate TENS pain relief. For neck pain relief, users should place two electrode pads on the lower back sides of the neck. Additional electrode pads above or beside the shoulders may work better for a more even spread. However, users must avoid placing the electrodes too close to the head as the electric stimulation may disrupt the brain’s impulses and signal distribution to the body.
Moreover, TENS is also painless. Users of TENS devices may only expect to feel a mild, sometimes warm, tingling sensation under the skin, even at higher frequencies. A TENS machine for neck pain can be a powerful, safe and practical tool to relieve neck and other body pains. This is beneficial for those allergic to pain medications or who seek to avoid exhaustive and expensive surgical treatment.
Precautions for TENS Machine Use
- Never place the electrode pads directly on the back of the neck, as it can lower blood pressure
- Applying electrode pads directly to the head or neck may trigger epilepsy
- People who have sensitive skin should switch to hypoallergenic pads
- Those with heart problems and pacemakers should not use a TENS device
TENS therapy is one of the most effective methods of relieving and managing neck pain. TENS devices themselves are easy to use and apply. In addition, people may use such devices at home. Other models of TENS machines are even more portable that people can use them on the go. However, proper pad placement is essential for a thorough treatment, immediate results and continuing safety. Moreover, TENS is versatile. Doctors may advise TENS for back pains, foot problems, and migraines.
In conclusion, applying a TENS machine for neck pain is easy, simple and safe as long as users follow the guides for proper pad placement and TENS use while keeping certain precautions in mind. Lastly, TENS therapy’s effectiveness for relieving neck pains is supplemented by eliminating other risk factors and doing the proper exercise and stretches. Although TENS cannot cure the pain condition, it effectively achieves immediate results for neck pains.