Many people use Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy to help with their pain. There are many TENS machines available on the market. Thus, it is crucial to consider several factors when looking for the best TENS unit. A vital factor is that it brings a wide range of pain relief. Moreover, it must have adjustable intensity levels and treatment modes. Lastly, the individual must consider which device type suits them and what features they need.
Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide, impacting their quality of life and limiting their activities. Fortunately, TENS machines can provide drug-free and non-invasive relief from pain. Some conditions it alleviates aches from are migraines, arthritis, and period pain. People may purchase personal devices online, in pharmacies, and medical supply stores. However, consulting a healthcare professional before using TENS is ideal to ensure safety.
The Best TENS Unit – Wide Range of Pain Relief
When searching for the best TENS unit, one must ensure the product can provide a wide range of pain relief. Generally, TENS machines can alleviate aches from various acute and chronic conditions. It does this by delivering electrical pulses through externally applied electrodes. Its versatility lies in the ability to adjust the settings for the treatment.
Using high-frequency stimulation (50-120 Hz) triggers spinal nerve cells to block pain signals from reaching the brain. This is the mechanism described in the Gate Control Theory of Pain. It suits acute pain conditions because it takes effect quickly. This setting also produces a massage-like effect that increases blood flow to the area and relaxes sore muscles.
Meanwhile, low-frequency stimulation (2-10 Hz) induces the production of endorphins. These are natural painkillers that build up and relieve aches. Many use it for chronic pain conditions because its effects can last hours after the session. Moreover, endorphins help reduce inflammation, which can improve mobility. They can also improve moods and reduce stress.
Common Conditions that Can Be Treated
- Period pain: commonly felt at the start of the menstrual cycle. This causes aches in the lower abdomen and back.
- Postoperative pain: occurs after surgery and can radiate throughout the body.
- Sports injuries: this includes fractures, sprains, and strains.
- Diabetic neuropathy: caused by nerve damage from diabetes. It manifests as nerve pain in the legs, hands, and feet.
- Arthritis: the inflammation of one or more joints. This causes stiffness and joint pain in adults and children alike.
- Migraines: pulsating or throbbing headaches that may last for days. It may come with nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity.
- Various body aches like foot pain and shoulder pain.
The Best TENS Unit – Device Type and Features
To determine the best TENS unit, one must consider the device type and available features. Generally, there are two types of TENS machines. These are the wired and wireless units. Wired or handheld TENS machines are often seen in medical settings. Doctors and physical therapists use these to help patients during their treatment. Handheld units use lead cables to connect the electrode pads to the power source and controller.
Meanwhile, wireless units use Bluetooth technology to control the electrodes. Some use smartphone applications to adjust the settings, while some still use separate controllers. Furthermore, some devices allow the user to manually adjust the settings on the electrode itself. This makes wireless TENS ideal for many people who seek convenience.
TENS machines also offer various features. Active people may seek more compact and portable TENS units. Some may use rechargeable batteries instead of replaceable ones. It is crucial to remember this to maximise the cost-effectiveness of the unit. The price range for TENS units is $50 to above $300. It is best to purchase a device that fits the needs and budget of the person.
Advantages of a Wireless Unit
Many people choose wireless TENS units because they are convenient and portable. By removing the restrictions of wires, people may do simple activities during their therapy sessions. Furthermore, it lessens the set-up time required to start using the device. Some wireless pads can be discreetly hidden underneath clothing.
Some people may prefer the overall performance of wireless TENS machines because they have more advanced features. Furthermore, there are more options for wireless TENS pads. They have various shapes and sizes. There are even hypoallergenic pads. Lastly, people may benefit from eliminating the need to replace wires once a break forms.
The Best TENS Unit – Adjustable Levels of Intensity and Treatment Modes
When looking for the best TENS unit, the person must ensure that it has adjustable levels of intensity. In general, TENS units allow people to customise the settings of their machines. This is what enables people to experience versatile pain relief for TENS. Most TENS units have an intensity range of 0-80 mA and a frequency range of 1-150 Hz.
The intensity refers to the level of electrical current delivered by the unit. The frequency refers to how often this current is applied in a second. People may adjust the intensity settings from low to high, depending on their condition. However, it is advised to start on low settings to avoid sudden shocks or discomfort.
Many TENS machines also offer preset modes. These are programs tailored for different body parts and conditions. These add to the convenience of using TENS. This includes the burst, continuous, and modulation modes. Burst mode delivers bursts of high-frequency electrical pulses. Meanwhile, the continuous mode sends a constant stream of low-frequency electrical impulses. Lastly, the modulation mode supplies varying pulse frequencies and intensities.
Ease of Use and Convenience
TENS machines are straightforward to use. Many offer user-friendly interfaces to make it easy for first-time users to understand how it works. Generally, to use a TENS machine, the person must place the electrodes near or on the pain area. After, they may turn the machine on and adjust the frequency and intensity levels or select a treatment mode.
Owning a personal device can remove the hassle of going to hospitals or physical therapy clinics. Some use it multiple times a day for chronic conditions. However, consulting a medical professional is ideal before using a TENS machine to ensure safety.
The best TENS unit must fulfil several factors. Firstly, it must provide a wide range of pain relief. It should be effective against conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, migraines, and various body aches. Secondly, the device type and features must suit the needs of the individual. They may select whether wired or wireless TENS better addresses their condition. Whether the unit has rechargeable or replaceable batteries should also be considered.
Lastly, the device must have adjustable intensity settings and treatment modes. Adjusting the settings is what allows people to achieve optimal relief. Thus, people must take all these into account before purchasing a device. Individuals may consult their healthcare providers to help them decide. These professionals can advise on what suits the condition and help the person understand how to use their machine. Those interested in wireless TENS machines may consider the iTENS from iTENS Australia.