Are you ready for an FDA approved alternative for effective pain relief that’s drug-free? Reach your inner morphine with TENS and turn agony to ecstasy. There really is no need to involuntarily submit to pain. We are discussing TENS.
From all the pain relievers lining the shelves of pharmacies, pain is a big issue among many people in the USA. It stretches beyond normal headaches. Pills, creams, ointments, and patches are briskly sold to relieve many types of pain, particularly neuromuscular pain. Nerves and muscles are vulnerable to many conditions from genetic diseases to habits…and the results are pain and agony. Some seek steroidal help and abuse it and some seek surgical help with some but not guaranteed successes. In 2014, the USA Federal Drug Administration approved marketing a TENS device for public use Prior to then, TENS was available through physical therapy or by prescription. Today, TENS devices are reasonable alternative against pain.
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is similar to ancient methods of massage but uses several electronic waves and impulses as a therapy for nerve and muscular pain. While it is reported that Electrical stimulation for pain control was used in ancient Rome, 2000 years ago, TENS devices offer varied controls for intensity, waves, and easy use. They are very affordable, many sell for less than $50.
TENS devices are relatively small devices that are actually serious therapeutic devices. They actually warn against use by people with elctro-pulsing implants. They work by sending stimulating pulses across the surface of the skin and along the nerve strands. The stimulating pulses help prevent pain signals from reaching the brain.Tens devices also help stimulate your body to produce higher levels of its own natural painkillers, called Endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural opiates. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar but different than morphine. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and stress.
The primary effect is pain relief. The secondary effect is relaxation. It is not advised for use when driving or working. Though naturally occurring from your body’s defense to stress – fight or flight – Endorphins might be addicting, though the evidence is sketchy. Marathon runners and sports players often have rushes of endorphins against the pains of going beyond endurance. Endorphins are endogenous morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings. They are produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland.
As TENS devices are electronic, 2 pads are placed in the painful area. They are necessary for the integrity of the electronic current. While many TENS devices are pre-set to the lowest level of intensity, there are adjustments you can control to increase intensity. Do not push yourself to a painful level. This may damage or condition the pituitary response and reduce enkephalin and endorphin responses. The constant pulsing of electrical stimulation from the TENS machine at higher than acceptable and recommended frequencies can cause pain and muscle twitching, particularly if you adjust the intensity too high. This may also cause muscle soreness.
As these TENS devices are designed for easy use, seek out those that have pre-set settings optimized for different body regions.
Bones generally have no pain sensors. Injuries and diseases generally displace nerves and muscles. Then there is age related wear and tear – degeneration. Spondylosis refers to degenerative, or age-related, changes in the spine. These changes include disc degeneration, bone spurs, and thickened ligaments.Most complaints of pain are associated with the lower discs along the spine, particularly the lumbar and sacral regions. Osteoarthritis of the spine may cause stiffness or pain in the neck or back as nerves and muscles shift. TENS may be used to help calm those pain centers.
Perhaps the most prevalent neuromuscular pain is lower back pain. Back pain may result from posture, improper lifting habits, and a disease called Spinal Stenosis. Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of a body region. In spinal stenosis, this narrowing may result from disc deterioration at the lower parts of your spine. Stenosis thus misalignes nerves and muscles in ways that cause chronic pain. TENS devices are very effective for providing temporary pain relief. Activity is also an important part of the treatment of Spinal Stenosis but how can you be active with lower back pain?
Spinal Stenosis (diagnosed via MRI scans) is a leading cause of lower back pain. It is heavily researched. In the past, traditional approaches were back braces that were worn beneath clothes. One manufacturer has developed a TENS device that may help alleviate lower back pain.
From Bayer, the maker of most pain relief pills, comes a TENS device that resembles a back brace but much thinner. Aleve Direct Therapy uses the same TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) technology. Its use and indication is for the temporary relief of pain associated with sore and aching muscles in the lower back due to strain from exercise or normal household and work activities. Aleve Direct Therapy is regulated as a Class II medical device and was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its unique patented waveform technology can provide deep penetrating relief by blocking the body’s pain signals and by releasing endorphins in the areas of pain – the two theories behind how TENS technology works.
When I had lower back pain, I was prescribed a back brace. This was a common traditional approach. My orthodist David Zwicker predicted I might not like it. As usual, he was right. He is an astute professional and selected the best passive solution. Brace was bulky like many others but might have offered some support. The bulk size and weight was an uncomfortable consequence. I tried other braces from Amazon and found them also ineffective. Braces offer passive support and add bulk beneath clothing. Up until recently, passive back brace has been used for back support. Few USA physicians are aware of TENS for daily lower back support. These are more commonly available in Europe.
Wearable TENS devices specifically for the lower back were rare. Then I heard about Aleve Direct Therapy, a thin electronic brace, integrated with a TENS device. The TENS 7000 To-Go combines a traditional brace with a TENS device. I selected the Aleve based on consumer related product support, such as easy access to replaceable sticky pads to keep brace in position. The 7000 To-Go may offer better support for use outdoors because of its wrap-around brace.
Unlike other TENS units, this Direct Therapy device is shaped for placement at the lower back, easily positioned for TENS application.. In addition, the device is thin and has a wireless remote control. No wires means you can use it when mobile (walking), although this use is not recommended by the manufacturer.
Sadly, a TENS unit will not cure any chronic pain condition. It is a pain reliever. It is designed to help ease pain of an acute pulled muscle or nerve. TENS is a moderate high-technology, drug-free method for reducing acute and chronic nerve and muscle pains. They may be found in pharmacies, Amazon, and other retailers. The tingling, adjustable massage triggers endorphins from your brain for additional comfort.
TENS is not to be confused with EMS devices. TENS is like an electric massage unit that’s directly focused to a region to stimulate endorphins. EMS is an Electronic Muscle Stimulator. Electrical muscle stimulation is a process through which low-level electrical currents are used to stimulate muscles, forcing them to contract. Electric stimulation works by mimicking the natural way by which the body exercises its muscles. The electrodes attached to the skin deliver impulses that make the muscles contract as if exercising. EMS has also been a tool of the physical therapy profession.
TENS and EMS are two new devices approved by the FDA. EMS, however, is not recommended for those with Muscular Dystrophy as the disease is one that affects normal contraction. If you have a serious, chronic disease or have had cardiovascular issues, you are urged to consult your practitioner(s). TENS and EMS use electrical waves.
TENS is also smartphone compatible with an app and accessory. iTENS is the world’s first FDA-cleared, wireless TENS therapy device that works via an iPhone or Android based app. While most wearable medical technologies are used to gather data or biofeedback, the iTENS actually delivers therapeutic stimuli to provide instant, long-lasting and medical-grade pain relief. In addition, the iTENS measures your pain scale, tracks your results, and charts your progress. This is very interesting. I wonder how effective it is.
My general belief is to use known brands like Omron and Aleve. They are also very affordable, priced @ $50 or below. Omron is a leader in home care health products. TENS devices or unit prices may go as high as (over) $1,000. Many are designed for professional medical use.
As with all these wonderful devices, it’s recommended to find a specialist familiar with TENS or EMS to determine whether one is right for you. Medscape offers an excellent scholarly article on TENS for further information. Get your facts and consider if TENS may be helpful for you.
Pain may be constant or at varying degrees, sourced from different areas. Pain is serious as a sensation and as a health issue. The word “pain” is used to describe a wide range of unpleasant sensory and emotional experiences associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Nature has made sure that pain is a signal we cannot ignore. Sensors in skin, nerves, and muscle fibers keep us alert. Nociceptors are sensory receptors that detect signals from damaged tissue or the threat of damage and indirectly also respond to chemicals released from the damaged tissue When mobilizing for activities, pain may be disabling. Controlling or suppressing pain helps temporarily relieve discomfort for a few hours.There are usually side effects, especially when abused.
Most pain is associated with inflammation along nerve and muscle pathways. This is where generally available Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Aspirin, Advil, and Aleve) and prescribed Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are usually recommended as a first choice by many physicians. Non-steroidal work by blocking (inhibiting) the effect of chemicals (enzymes) called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. COX enzymes help to make other chemicals called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a group of lipids that are part of this process. Problems with prostaglandins can limit the healing process, cause increased inflammation and pain, and impact your overall health. Some prostaglandins are involved in the production of pain and inflammation at sites of injury or damage.A prostoglandin is secreted by hormones near the site of injury.
Heat, as wet compresses, creams, and patches. Applying heat to the inflamed area will help sore and tightened muscles relax and increase blood flow. Using heat applications has a relatively long history in controlling pain.
As an additional method for suppressing pain, TENS is the newest kid on the block. The first modern, patient-wearable TENS was patented in the United States in 1974.At its earliest phases, it was used to help facilitate neurosurgery. Later, TENS and EMS models were used in physical rehab centers as part of physical therapy. The only reason that TENS has exploded for general use is FDA approval at the start of 2014.
While scientifically studied over the past 10 years, TENS and EMS devices seem to demonstrate nerve and muscle pain relief effectively. The longer term pain relief from TENS relies on how your body naturally responds to acute pain from exercise or other issues involved with movement and sedentary behaviors.
With wider affordability and availability, TENS devices are promising pain relievers for targeted nerve and muscle areas, when used responsibly. TENS helps trigger your body’s natural opiates. Available as small, hand-held (or belt-clip) devices, within back braces, and as smartphone apps, TENS offers the average pain sufferer a viable and potential route for pain relief. BUT ALWAYS TRY TO CHECK WITH A QUALIFIED HEALTH PRACTITIONER WHY YOU MAY BE EXPERIENCING LONG-TERM AND IRREGULAR PAIN! before using a TENS device.