Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a common disorder that causes pain when tendons in the elbow are overloaded. It happens due to overuse or repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Repeated contractions of the forearm muscles put stress resulting in tiny tears and inflammation outside the elbow. Despite its name, this painful condition is not only limited to tennis players. It is also common for any activities involving repeated stress on the elbow joints like plumbing or painting. People with tennis elbows manage by taking oral medications, rest, or physical therapy. A more vigorous technique to help relieve a stubborn tennis elbow is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). The wireless iTENS can be an effective TENS machine for tennis elbow and other joint pains.
TENS Machine for Tennis Elbow
When you have tennis elbow, it makes simple tasks difficult to do. Pain will be apparent when writing, gripping, lifting small objects, or turning doorknobs. Tennis elbow may begin gradually due to repeated movements and strain injuries. Over time, the symptoms tend to worsen and cause a decrease in grip strength and functional ability of the upper limb. However, symptoms may improve with interventions like TENS therapy. A TENS machine for tennis elbow employs mild electrical impulses sent to the nerves through the skin. The iTENS is a portable device consisting of wireless electrodes and adhesive gel pads for more efficient pain management.
TENS therapy is a method of pain management that does not require the use of medications. Thus, it is valuable for people seeking a safe and drug-free alternative. A TENS machine for tennis elbow works by stimulating the sensory nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain. The therapeutic basis of TENS derives from the Gate Control Theory of Pain and the Natural Opioid System. Under the Gate Control Theory, the spinal cord has a gating mechanism that controls the transmission of pain messages. When the electrical currents flood the nervous system, it causes the “gates” to temporarily close. Likewise, the natural opioid system states that the tingling sensation caused by TENS increases the secretion of endorphins. Therefore, it results in the following:
- Reduce pain perception
- Increase blood circulation
- Restore range of motion
- Increase the body’s resistance to pain
Risk Factor of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow can develop in various ways. Due to lifestyle or occupation, some people are more prone to acquiring it than others. Tennis elbow does not usually lead to serious problems. However, if untreated and the condition continues, it can result in immobilisation, limiting your activities. A TENS machine for tennis elbow can help reduce pain and prevent the condition from getting worse. Additionally, knowing the causes of tennis elbow can help manage it efficiently. The risk factors are:
- Age – Tennis elbow is more common in adults between 30 to 50 years old.
- Occupation – Jobs that require repetitive motion of the wrist and arm are more at risk.
- Poor athletic technique – improper use of sports equipment or stroke technique are more likely to develop tennis elbow.
- Not warming up before strenuous activity – Failure to warm-up increases the risk of tissue damage.
TENS Machine for Tennis Elbow: Pads Placement
TENS machine for tennis elbow is most effective with the right pad placement. Joint pain like the elbows can be tricky. iTENS Australia offers the iTENS small wings, suitable for joint areas like the elbows, knees, and ankles. To use the iTENS, place the electrode pads on the pain area and switch on the device. The TENS pad placement is flexible depending on your condition and the area of pain. To treat tennis elbow, follow the TENS pad placement guide below:
- Peel the protective cover from the gel pads and place the electrode near the elbow
- Position one pad above and the other below the joint.
- Avoid placing the electrodes directly over the elbow to avoid further damage
- You may slightly adjust the placement of the pad for more effective relief.
- Do not turn the stimulation too high that it causes muscle contractions.
Guide to the iTENS App
The iTENS is an innovative device merging wearable technology with the efficacy of TENS therapy. The iTENS maximises pain relief, convenience, and portability by using wireless electrodes. Using the iTENS TENS machine for tennis elbow is easier with the smartphone app. In particular, the iTENS device can connect to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The iTENS companion app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. After pairing the smartphone and the device, you may administer self-treatment for acute and chronic pain conveniently. To start the treatment, launch the app and access the programs from the menu. The iTENS app provides several pre-set modes for various pains based on body parts or conditions. For tennis elbow, simply select the treatment for Epicondylitis under Conditions or elbow pain under Body Diagram. The stimulation will begin immediately without additional set-ups.
The iTENS app also enables you to tailor your pain treatment under manual mode. To personalise your therapy, switch to Manual mode from the app to set your parameters. Adjust the pulse rate, pulse width, waveforms, and duration according to your preference. We recommend starting from the lowest intensity and gradually working your way up. Keep on adjusting the intensity and frequency until you achieve the most effective relief. Additionally, the wireless iTENS is more than just a TENS machine for tennis elbow. TENS is also suitable for relieving acute injuries and chronic pain. The iTENS app has pre-set modes optimized for conditions like sciatica, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, arthritis, and more.
How Safe is TENS for Tennis Elbow
When it comes to safety, there is no doubt that TENS therapy is one of the safest methods for pain management. Using a TENS machine for tennis elbow is non-toxic and risk-free. It does not create adverse side effects that oral painkillers have. Therefore, you may use TENS frequently as needed. Moreover, TENS is painless and non-invasive. It can minimise pain symptoms without requiring surgery. Further, when getting a TENS machine, choose one recommended by health experts or physiotherapists. The wireless iTENS has FDA clearance, meeting the standards for a safe pain relief device. You may get the iTENS directly at iTENS Australia online. However, despite being generally safe, observing precautions is vital. The misuse of the device may cause further harm.
TENS is not advisable if you have cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, and during the early stages of pregnancy. Similarly, do not use TENS if you have cardiac pacemakers or other electrical or metal implants in your body. This is because the electrical stimulation from the TENS machine may interfere with the functions of the electrical implants. A TENS machine for tennis elbow is best if used in conjunction with physical therapy or other treatment methods. The iTENS gives more flexibility than a standard wired TENS because it does not hinder or restrict motion. Therefore, you may use TENS while working or doing physical activities, except driving or operating machinery.