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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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TENS Unit Surgery: Overview

A woman lying on her bed, feeling discomfort in her lower back.

A TENS unit surgery, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit surgery, is a technique used to provide postoperative pain relief. The TENS unit delivers low electrical currents through the pads, stimulating nerves and reducing pain. To operate it, one should first attach electrode pads to the skin near the painful area. Then, adjust the intensity and frequency settings to a comfortable level. Proper pad placement, often guided by a healthcare professional, ensures effective pain management.

Patients experience postoperative pain after undergoing surgery. The intensity of the pain can vary depending on individual pain tolerance and the type of surgery performed. This condition typically arises from tissue damage incurred during the surgical procedure and may persist for several days after surgery. Effective pain treatment is crucial for improving the patient’s experience and speeding up their healing. This article will provide information on a TENS unit for postoperative pain relief, including instructions on operation and pad placement.

TENS Unit Surgery: Using TENS for Postoperative Pain Relief

TENS unit surgery is a method of pain relief that involves the use of a TENS unit after a surgical procedure. This approach utilises electrical current to block pain signals and provide pain relief without the use of medication. TENS disrupts the perception of pain and promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

There are several benefits to using a TENS unit for pain relief after surgery. For instance, TENS can effectively manage both acute and chronic pain conditions, making it a versatile method of pain control. This especially benefits patients with surgery syndrome or neuropathic pain, who often struggle to find effective pain relief.

Moreover, a TENS unit provides a non-invasive and drug-free approach to pain management. This approach lessens the need for pain medicines that may have unwanted side effects. Aside from postoperative pain, TENS can also be used for other painful conditions. These include arthritis painlabour painmuscle painperiod pain, nerve pain, and more.

How TENS Works

  • Gate Control Theory: electrical impulses generated by TENS devices stimulate sensory nerves on the skin’s surface. This stimulation blocks the “gate” in the spinal cord that allows pain signals to reach the brain. As a result, it reduces the perception of pain.
  • Release of endogenous opiates: TENS stimulation triggers the release of endogenous opiates, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body. These opiates, such as endorphins and enkephalins, block pain signals and provide pain relief.
  • Central inhibitory effect: involves the direct inhibition of pain signalling in the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and brain.

 

Smartphones demonstrating the operation of the iTENS app.

TENS Unit Surgery: How To Operate the Device to Relieve Postoperative Pain

Operating a TENS unit surgery to relieve postoperative pain involves three simple steps. Firstly, patients need to attach the electrodes to their skin. They can connect these pads to the TENS unit either with lead cables or wirelessly, typically through Bluetooth. The pads should be placed near the site of the pain, such as around the surgical incision.

Secondly, individuals should turn on the unit and adjust the stimulation settings accordingly. The medical device delivers electric currents through the electrode pads to the affected area. People can adjust the intensity of the electrical pulses based on their pain levels. It is advisable to begin with a low stimulation level and raise it if needed.

Lastly, users should utilise the TENS unit for the recommended duration. Pain relief from this electronic device may vary, but typically, a session lasts for about 20-30 minutes. The frequency of use depends on the individual’s pain management plan and the severity of their pain. It is important to follow the medical advice of a healthcare provider or pain specialist when using the TENS unit.

Advantages of TENS

A TENS unit offers several advantages in providing postoperative pain relief. For instance, its ability to provide pain relief without the use of medications. This benefits individuals with medical conditions or concerns preventing pain medication use. These include allergies, side effects, or contraindications.

Additionally, a TENS unit offers targeted pain relief. It delivers electrical pulses to specific areas of the body, helping patients target and alleviate their pain. This is favourable for those with chronic or post-surgical pain, allowing personalised pain management. Overall, these advantages allow patients to find their optimal relief and improve their quality of life.

 

An individual applying a small wing electrode to the back of another person.

TENS Unit Surgery: Proper Pad Placement for Postoperative Pain Relief

Proper pad placement is crucial for achieving effective pain relief using a TENS unit after surgery. When positioning the pads on the body, users should target the specific areas where the pain is experienced. By correctly placing the electrodes, the electrical stimulation can effectively block pain signals and provide relief.

For optimal pain relief, individuals should consult with a physical therapist or healthcare provider to guide them in determining the correct electrode placements. The placement of pads may vary depending on the type and location of post-surgical pain. For severe pain, the pads can be placed around the surgical area or along the peripheral nerves near the incision.

In addition, ensuring that the skin is clean and dry before applying the electrode patches is vital for optimal conductivity. This helps maximise the effectiveness of the electrical stimulation and promotes better pain relief. Start by cleaning the skin thoroughly using mild soap and water. Make sure to remove any dirt, oil, or moisturisers that may inhibit the electrical current. Dry the skin completely before proceeding.

Are there Risks?

TENS unit does carry certain risks that patients should be aware of. One potential risk is tolerance to stimulation. The electrical currents delivered by the TENS unit may need to be adjusted to achieve the desired pain relief. This can be a challenge, as pain levels and the patient’s perception of pain may change over time.

Another risk is the possibility of infection. Since TENS involves placing electrodes on the skin, there is a small chance of infection at the surgical site. Infection can lead to various complications, including pain, swelling, and discomfort. It may also require the use of antibiotics.

Conclusion

TENS unit surgery offers a versatile approach to postoperative pain relief. It blocks pain signals, triggers natural pain-relief chemicals, and inhibits central nervous system pain signalling. Its non-invasive nature reduces the reliance on medications, making it a valuable option for comprehensive pain management. Additionally, a TENS unit provides targeted pain relief by delivering electrical pulses to specific areas of the body. Moreover, it can be used for a variety of other painful conditions aside from postoperative pain.

Operating a TENS unit for pain after surgery involves three simple steps: attaching electrodes, adjusting settings, and following recommended usage times. However, there are risks to consider. Patients may build a tolerance to the device’s stimulation, making pain treatment more challenging. Additionally, there is a small risk of infection due to electrode placement. Therefore, patients should use TENS units under the guidance of a medical professional to maximise benefits while minimising potential complications.

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