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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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TENS Therapy for Back Pain: How to Improve Your Quality of Life

A man holding his upper back due to pain

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a method of pain relief for various conditions. One application is the TENS therapy for back pain. This treatment uses a battery-operated device to deliver electrical pulses to the nerves in the body. Accordingly, the electrical stimulation functions by interrupting the pain signals and triggering the production of endorphins. As a result, it alleviates chronic pain or acute pain in the back, improving the overall quality of life.

When a person experiences back pain, it can significantly impact their daily life. It can be caused by various factors, such as muscle pain, carrying heavy objectspoor posture, or underlying medical conditions. Traditional pain relief methods, like medication or physical therapy treatment, may offer some relief, but they often come with side effects. Thus, TENS enters as an alternative. This article will present how TENS work, how to conduct it, and the proper pad placement.

How Does TENS Therapy for Back Pain Work?

In general, TENS therapy for back pain works by utilising a portable device to send electrical currents to stimulate nerve fibres. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation functions by engaging several physiological responses in the body. Firstly, it can prompt endorphin release. These are the natural painkillers of the body that are produced in response to stress or pain.

Secondly, the therapy is thought to influence the pain-gating mechanism in the body. According to the Theory of Pain Gate, the sensation of pain is regulated by a complex system of nerve signals in the spinal cord and brain. When TENS delivers an electric current, it can help close the gate that allows the transmission of pain signals. This effectively reduces the perception of pain intensity.

Moreover, TENS treatment may contribute to improved blood circulation in the treatment region. The electrical stimulation from the medical device can cause vasodilation, widening the blood vessels. This dilation can bring in more oxygen and nutrients. Also, this can aid in the removal of metabolic byproducts and reducing inflammation.

The Main Benefits of the Treatment

  • Non-invasive – it does not require any invasive procedures, such as the use of injections or undergoing surgical operations.
  • Non-medicinal – many people prefer to minimise their reliance on medications due to concerns about potential adverse effects and the risk of dependency.
  • Modifiable settings – TENS allows users to select the suitable pulse rate, intensity levels, and pulse duration.
  • Portable and user-friendly – people can carry the device on the go, allowing them to use it whenever and wherever needed. Also, TENS has intuitive controls for easy utilisation.
  • Cost-effective – it eliminates the need for frequent visits to pain clinics, healthcare providers, or medical professionals.

A wireless pain relief units and refill gel pads

How to Effectively Conduct TENS Therapy for Back Pain

In conducting TENS therapy for back pain, there are important steps to follow. Firstly, it is essential to choose the right TENS unit for specific treatment needs. Secondly, it is important to ensure that the machine is in good working condition. Also, include checking the batteries or the power source of the unit to see if they are functioning properly.

Next, attach the electrode wires to the unit or connect it through a smartphone app via Bluetooth for wireless. Then, remove the plastic cover of the electrode pads and position the electrodes in the treatment area. It is vital to know and understand the proper pad placement for effective use. After that, the user can turn on the unit and adjust the frequency, intensity, and duration.

Some TENS may also offer preset programs for a more direct back pain treatment. Thus, select the suitable one. Physical therapists recommend starting with the lowest settings and moderately increasing it to a comfortable sensation. During the session, it is crucial to inspect different sensations for safety. After use, turn off the device and store it properly for future use.

Safety Precautions

Before undergoing TENS therapy, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess specific conditions and medical history to determine if TENS is a suitable option. Also, do not start the treatment session in high settings. This can cause electric shock and may further add pain sensations.

Additionally, people should be cautious when using the device near water. Water and moisture can affect the function of the unit and increase the risk of electrical shock. Furthermore, do not use TENS while doing certain activities that require focus, like driving. The electrical stimulation can disrupt attention, which can lead to accidents.

A person placing large wing pads on the back of another person

How to Properly Place Electrode Pads When Using TENS Therapy for Back Pain

Placing the electrode pads properly is crucial when using TENS therapy for back pain. The first step is to locate the specific area of the back where one experiences pain. This could be the lower back, upper back, or a specific region of the spinal column. Before applying the pads, it is important to clean and dry the skin area. This is to improve adhesion and enhance the effectiveness of TENS.

Accordingly, position electrodes on either side of the painful area. For instance, if it is in the lower back, place the pads on either side of the spine. This placement allows the electrical pulses to target the treatment area and provide relief. Also, when using multiple pads, it is essential to space them out evenly around the region.

Furthermore, it is vital to place the pads in a way that targets relevant muscle groups. This may involve adjusting the placement of the electrodes. Subsequently, it should align with specific muscle groups in the back. Nevertheless, do not place the pads directly on the spinal cord and broken skin or cuts.

Wireless Pads for Increased Quality of Life

Wireless pads can be easily placed on the skin near the area of back pain. This technology allows people to experience TENS therapy without being tethered to traditional TENS with wires. As a result, it makes it easier for individuals to move around and engage in daily activities. Also, this promotes discreetness of use, whether on the go.

In addition, most wireless TENS enables people to control it manually or with the use of a smartphone app through Bluetooth. Therefore, users can easily adjust the settings with one click. The mobile application is also user-friendly, allowing for a more accessible therapy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, TENS therapy for back pain is highly effective, whether in the lower or upper back. TENS is a natural relief as it uses electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves in the body. Accordingly, these electrical currents work on the principle of pain gate, the release of endorphins, and the improvement of blood flow. Users can simply incorporate TENS into their daily routine to improve their quality of life. They will place the pads, adjust the settings, and relax.

TENS units offer numerous benefits. It is non-invasive, non-medicinal, customisable, portable, user-friendly, and cost-effective. The device with wireless functionality promotes mobility and the use of mobile applications. Nevertheless, it is crucial to know the proper pad placement. For the back, it is common to place the electrodes on either side of the spine. Also, it is essential to recognise the safety precautions for safe use. TENS is available in various stores like iTENS Australia.

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