Pregnancy comes with its fair share of discomfort, particularly back pain. It affects up to three-quarters of expectant mothers. Hormonal changes and weight gain can cause it. Fortunately, a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine for pregnancy back pain is one way to achieve relief while minimising the need for medication. It is a small battery-operated device that delivers low-level electrical currents through the electrode pads. To use, place the pads on the back before turning on the device.
TENS therapy is easy to administer and does not interfere with the natural process of childbirth. Women can use it in conjunction with other methods of pain relief or as a standalone option. For instance, exercise, massage, hot or cold therapy, and good posture can all help relieve labour pain. The following sections will present what a TENS device is, how it works, and provide helpful advice on how to use it safely.
What is a TENS Machine for Pregnancy Back Pain
A TENS machine for pregnancy back pain is an in-demand method of pain relief. This is because it is 100% drug-free and non-invasive. It only uses mild electric pulses through electrodes. This helps to block pain signals from getting to the brain. The electrical stimulation triggers the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body.
During pregnancy, TENS devices can be a valuable tool for managing pain. They can be used at the lowest setting to alleviate discomfort. However, it is important to speak with a doctor before using it. This is especially necessary if the woman has a cardiac pacemaker or any other medical condition that may be affected by electrical stimulation.
People typically find a TENS unit in hospital settings. It is traditionally handheld and has wires, but there are wireless ones as well. They come in different shapes and sizes to fit different parts of the body. Specifically, expectant mothers should use a large TENS device for the back. Otherwise, they can utilise up to four pads at once.
Benefits of Using the Device
TENS has many benefits. Here are some of them:
- Non-Invasive: It does not involve the use of medication or intrusive procedures. Hence, it is a safe and natural option.
- Easy to Use: The pregnant woman herself can operate TENS or with the assistance of her birth partner. This allows for convenient and immediate pain relief whenever necessary.
- Adjustable Settings: Expectant mothers can customise the intensity, frequency, and duration to their comfort level.
- Versatile: The device is suitable in various settings, including at home, in a hospital setting, or travel. This flexibility allows women to use the device wherever they feel most comfortable.
How a TENS Machine for Pregnancy Back Pain Works
A TENS machine for pregnancy back pain works by emitting electrical impulses that stimulate the nerves. By using electrode pads that people place on the skin, the device delivers mild electrical stimulation, helping to alleviate both acute pain and chronic pain.
There are generally two methods to choose from when it comes to TENS. One is motor-level stimulation, which operates on low frequencies at less than 10 Hz. On the other hand, there is sensory-level stimulation, which delivers high frequencies at greater than 50 Hz. Modulating pain messages helps reduce the severity of pain during pregnancy, allowing expecting parents to better manage their discomfort.
During pregnancy, back pain is a common occurrence due to the increased strain on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back. By utilising TENS, pregnant individuals can experience relief from muscle spasms. They can safely use this form of pain management as long as certain precautions are taken, such as avoiding broken skin or areas of skin irritation.
Other Conditions During Pregnancy That It Can Treat
TENS provides relief in labour and for other common conditions during pregnancy. For instance, they can be used to alleviate pelvic pain, which is caused by the hormone relaxin. By applying TENS to specific areas, it helps to reduce pain signals and improve mobility.
Additionally, it can treat pregnancy-related symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). SPD occurs when the ligaments that normally keep the pelvic bone stable become too relaxed, causing pain and discomfort. By using a TENS device, pregnant individuals can manage the pain associated with SPD. Moreover, they can improve their overall quality of life during pregnancy.
How to Use a TENS Machine for Pregnancy Back Pain
To use a TENS machine for pregnancy back pain, pregnant women must ensure that they are using the machine correctly and safely. They should read any instructions carefully before use. Also, they must consult with a doctor or midwife if they have any questions or concerns. TENS devices provide a gentle massage that can help relieve pain and tension associated with pregnancy.
The step-by-step process of operating TENS begins with attaching the electrodes to the skin. The pad placement can vary depending on the specific needs of each individual. For instance, they can attach two on the lower back and two on the glutes. Next, set the level of intensity. The patient should start low and then work their way up. This prevents overstimulation.
The TENS unit can be controlled by the mother or her birth partner. This allows for flexibility and control in managing the pain. However, it is important to remember that it may not eliminate all pain during labour, but it can be a helpful additional tool in managing pain intensity.
Setting Up and Preparations Before Use
Before using the TENS device, it is important to read the instructions and become familiar with it. To appropriately set it up, checking the batteries or ensuring that it is fully charged is important to avoid any interruptions during use. Before attaching to the skin, it is advisable to clean the area where the electrodes will be placed. This helps to ensure proper contact.
Additionally, pregnant women can involve their birth partner or a medical professional if they need assistance setting up or using the machine. They can help position the electrode pads properly and adjust the intensity based on comfort level.
A TENS machine for pregnancy back pain offers a safe, drug-free, and convenient way to get relief during labour and pregnancy in general. It is a small, battery-operated device that uses mild electrical pulses to temporarily relieve pain in the lower back. Moreover, it can help manage pelvic pain and SPD. The mild pulses delivered through the electrodes placed on the skin help distract the brain from feeling the pain signals.
TENS units can be beneficial for many women and their loved ones in dealing with pain. However, it is vital to consult with a medical professional before using one during pregnancy. This is to ensure proper usage and to discuss any potential risks or concerns. To acquire a TENS device, they can visit pharmacies or drugstores. They can also buy online by checking iTENS from iTENS Australia for FDA-cleared and trustworthy machines.