Dealing with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be a real struggle for many women. The symptoms can range from cramps and bloating to mood swings and fatigue. They typically manage this acute pain condition by taking painkillers. Moreover, they can rely on Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS for PMS. To successfully receive the analgesic effects, people must use it correctly. They should place the pads on or near the pain site. Then, they can change the settings or modes.
PMS is part of the menstrual cycle. It usually occurs one to two weeks before the start of menstruation and can last until the periods begin. Its exact cause is still not fully understood, but hormonal changes during this time are thought to play a significant role. Nevertheless, women can choose from various medical treatments, like TENS, to manage the symptoms. The following sections will present how TENS works, how to apply it, and the safety precautions when conducting it.
How a TENS for PMS Works
TENS can help reduce the intensity of different acute and chronic pain conditions. Some examples are knee pain, musculoskeletal pain, and arthritic pain. It can also manage PMS and menstrual pain. TENS for PMS uses a handy device that emits mild electrical currents. Handheld models may require electrode wires. On the other hand, wireless models allow users to attach the pads directly to the skin.
Once the patches are on the pain area, TENS stimulates the nerves to disrupt the pain signals through pain gating. Then, a decrease in pain and an increase in comfort occur for individuals experiencing PMS symptoms. Also, electrical stimulation causes endorphins to be released. These are natural relievers the body produces. This mechanism further alleviates the discomfort associated with PMS.
In addition, electronic stimulation aids in muscle relaxation and blood circulation. Consequently, women experience less discomfort. They also receive a sense of relaxation and well-being during the challenging time of PMS because of TENS. A TENS unit can be a beneficial and non-invasive alternative to traditional pain medications. It relieves pain without the potential side effects of drugs.
Main Theories at Work
- Gate Control Theory – TENS stimulates the large diameter A-beta sensory fibres. Then, these close the “gate” for pain signals. Subsequently, TENS prevents the pain messages from reaching the brain and causing pain perception. Users can utilise high frequencies, from 50-120 Hz, to activate this.
- Endorphin Release – Electronic stimulation triggers the body to release natural pain-relieving chemicals. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that bind to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Through this mechanism, women receive positive effects like less pain and better mood. They can set the frequency to low, at two to nine Hz, for this to work.
How to Apply TENS for PMS
Attach the electrodes on the lower abdomen or lower back to apply TENS for PMS. It should be near the site of the discomfort. Ensure the area is clean and dry before placing them for sufficient connection. Then, turn on the TENS device. As the session progresses, increase the stimulation intensity. However, do this slowly because each person has a different pain threshold, and a high-intensity level may cause discomfort.
Let the TENS machine run for about 20-30 minutes at a time. Individuals with severe pain can use it as often as necessary throughout the day. Nevertheless, take breaks in between sessions to rest the skin and muscles. Once the TENS duration is up, turn off the unit and remove the adhesive pads. Afterwards, remove the residues from the skin and store the device properly for future use.
Always read the instructions from the manual guide or the recommendations of professionals. These include specific placement techniques, duration of treatment sessions, and intensity levels appropriate for individual needs. When people use TENS correctly and safely, it can be valuable in managing PMS-related pain and discomfort.
Pad Placement Guide
Correct electrode placement is essential to alleviate the painful condition of PMS effectively. Women should position the pads on the lower back. The patches should be on either side of the spinal cord. This targets the nerves responsible for transmitting pain messages from the uterus to the brain during menstruation.
Another suitable placement for PMS symptoms is on the lower abdomen. Place the electrode pads just above the pubic bone. This placement targets the pelvic area and helps to alleviate cramping and discomfort associated with PMS. Nevertheless, avoid areas with open wounds, rashes, or irritated skin.
Safety Precautions When Conducting TENS for PMS
Prioritising safety is vital when conducting TENS for PMS. One essential precaution to follow is to check the condition of the electrode pads. Their proper functioning is crucial for the safety and effectiveness of TENS therapy. Inspect the patches for signs of wear and tear, like cracks or frayed edges. Similarly, monitor the functioning of the electrode wires. If users detect any damage, replace those pads immediately.
Moreover, consult a doctor before applying TENS. Some health conditions may not work well with electrical stimulation. For instance, individuals with cardiac pacemakers should not use TENS therapy without clearance from their physician. Also, those with severe pain that does not go away may indicate an underlying health issue. Thus, seeking a professional for guidance is essential.
Furthermore, monitor the response of the body to the TENS treatment. Be attentive to any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions. Additionally, regularly check the skin under the electrodes for any redness, irritation, or allergic reactions. Ensure the stimulation intensity is not causing severe discomfort. Following these guidelines can help women experience the maximum benefits of TENS.
Are There Potential Side Effects?
There are potential side effects when using TENS for different health conditions. Some examples are skin irritation, itchiness, or redness at the electrode sites. Muscle twitching or spasms is also a possibility. These side effects are usually mild and go away after the TENS treatment session.
In rare cases, some people may experience allergic reactions to the adhesive from the electrodes. Moreover, they may get temporary muscle soreness after TENS treatment. People must use settings that match their comfort level. It should also adhere to the suggestions of doctors or physical therapists. Doing so minimises the risks of side effects.
TENS for PMS is beneficial in reducing its symptoms. It can help alleviate cramps, back pain, and muscle tension. This non-invasive therapy delivers mild electrical impulses to the nerves. As a result, TENS blocks pain messages and promotes endorphin release. Also, it can enhance the circulation of blood. Applying the electrical nerve stimulation unit is easy. Individuals must attach the adhesive pads to the skin. Then, they can control the electrical pulses by adjusting the settings.
Correct electrode placement is vital to the success of TENS therapy. Thus, women must apply the patches on or around the lower abdomen or lower back. However, people with certain medical conditions, such as those with pacemakers, should consult a healthcare practitioner before using TENS. With appropriate usage, TENS can be a valuable tool for menstrual cycles. Those interested can check iTENS from iTENS Australia to manage acute and chronic health conditions.