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How To Use A Tens Unit For Back Pain

What Are The Benefits Of Using Tens

How to Use a TENS Unit With Low Back Pain. Correct Pad Placement

Reviews suggest that TENS is effective for osteoarthritis, postoperative pain, painful diabetic neuropathy, and some acute pain conditions. Below are the situations in which TENS can help:

  • Post-operative or acute pain In a study, patients are evaluated during the first three days after surgery where TENS therapy reduced the need for analgesics.
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy An improvement of symptoms is shown from a study where TENS was shown to be better than placebo TENS following four to six weeks of treatment.
  • Wound healing An improvement in sacral and leg ulcers has been reported in a study from TENS use.
  • Inflammation When an area of the body is inflamed, a set of protective responses brings immune cells and molecular mediators towards the affected body part, causing it to swell for tissue repair. However, inflammation is painful, and TENS can reduce the pain sensation by sending electrical impulses to the affected part.
  • Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

    TENS units are available in many different clinical settings. Practitioners utilize them in hospice and palliative care, pain management, orthopedic surgery, neurology, dentistry, chiropractic, and physical therapy. Units have found use in hospitals, clinics, and homes alike. However, before the first TENS treatment, individuals should have a formal pain assessment by an experienced and qualified professionals, as well as given full and clear instructions on how to use the TENS unit. It is just as important to review the medical conditions and contraindicated electrode pad placements. Instructions should be thorough, but easy to understand. The patient should undergo a monitored session of TENS therapy by a trained provider so that they can evaluate for adherence to and comprehension of directions, placement, and titrating the machine. Conventional TENS is the approach first used in individuals new to the modality, often with a continuous pulse pattern of midrange frequencies and durations. An interprofessional team approach involving the nurse, allied health professional, and clinician in educating the patient and family and providing follow up will elicit the best results.

    Increase The Power Gradually

    A TENS unit will never electrocute you, but it can give you a much bigger jolt than you were expecting. Overpowering the unit will not help your pain in fact, it can make it worse.

    Its crucial to start at a lower power level. If you arent feeling significant results after ten minutes, then turn the power up on increment and repeat the process.

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    Conditions Treated With Tens

    Conditions responding well to TENS include, but are not limited to:

    • Neck pain and stiffness. Pain was reduced in severity over the short term in a study of people treated at several clinics who were provided TENS therapy.1
    • Fibromyalgia pain. Tolerance during physical activity significantly improved for patients after a single TENS treatment in one research study.5

    TENS is typically applied at the site of the pain, but is sometimes effective when used in other areas as well. Experimenting with various electrode placements and using a TENS unit for several days is recommended before buying a unit. Attaching electrodes in the area surrounding the site of the pain, over the nerve supplying the area in pain, or even on the opposite side of the body, may be useful.

    What Should I Do After The Tens Treatment

    How To Find The Best TENS Unit For Back Pain Within Your Budget
    • Turn the control knobs to the off position. Unplug the electrode wires from the TENS unit.
    • The electrodes may be left on your skin if you have another TENS treatment soon. If not, remove the electrodes. Wash the skin where the electrodes were placed. Clean the electrodes with soap and water to remove the gel. Do not use alcohol because this can damage the rubber on the electrode. Get new electrodes if the electrodes become damaged or will not stay stuck to the skin.
    • Remove the battery from the TENS and replace it with a charged battery. Charge the battery so that it will be ready for another treatment.

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    Electronic Pulses Block Pain Signals

    Using the best tens unit for back pain means the electrode pads deliver electronic pulses to nerves. During a treatment this feels like a tingling or similar kind of sensation. It is from this transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for back pain where signals get blocked. Normally these signals travel to the brain in an attempt to alert it that something wrong is happening

    Instead, the brain releases good feeling endorphins, which are natural pain killers produced in the body.

    Using A Tens Unit To Relieve Lower Back Pain

    Back pain can slow you down and keep you from things you enjoy. In extreme circumstances, it can even prevent you from living a normal life.

    There are a variety of pills, ointments, and other treatments for lower back pain that you may have tried with limited success, or you may just want to try something new. Either way, a TENS unit is an effective treatment for lower back pain that can be purchased from many major retailers.

    In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what these machines are, how they work, and how you can use them to treat your lower back pain.

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    How To Use A Tens Unit Safely And Effectively

    A TENS unit is a handheld, portable device that emits electrical pulses that can provide pain relief. TENS units are available without a prescription and are easy to use. When used safely and effectively, TENS units can provide significant pain relief for a variety of conditions. Here are some tips on how to use a TENS unit safely and effectively:

    • Start with the lowest setting and increase the intensity as needed.
    • Use the device for short periods of time several times a day as needed.
    • Avoid placing the pads over open wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not place the pads near your eyeballs or on your face.

    Use This Tens Unit Placement For Lower Back Pain

    How to Use a TENS Unit With Upper Back Pain. Correct Pad Placement

    Weve all been there. Youre picking up that last bag of raked leaves when you feel the twinge. Your knees buckle and the pain sears across your lower back. You spend the next twelve hours on the couch contemplating your next move and wondering where you went wrong.

    Back pain is not only one of the leading causes of missed workdays, but the most common reason for work related disability. Whether it is a short weekend flare up or a chronic daily nuisance, nearly 80 percent of adults will experience back pain in their lifetime.

    Almost three-fourths of those individuals turn to pain medication in hopes of alleviating their symptoms. With opiate usage and addiction at an all-time high, healthcare providers and consumers alike are searching for a less addictive and non-invasive solution to treating low back pain. Behold the TENS unit.

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    How Does A Tens Machine Work

    • Transcutaneous – means through the skin.
    • Electrical – TENS machines deliver small electrical pulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. TENS machines are thought to affect the way pain signals are sent to the brain.
    • Nerve – pain signals reach the brain via nerves and the spinal cord.
    • Stimulation – if pain signals can be blocked by the tiny electrical shocks from the TENS machine then the brain will receive fewer signals from the source of the pain.

    TENS machines are thought to work in two ways:

    • On a high pulse rate of 90-130 Hz , the electrical impulses generated by the TENS machine interfere with and block pain messages sent to the brain. This is due to the gate control theory of pain. This proposes that there is a gate mechanism in the brain and spinal cord nerves . When the gate is open, pain messages get through to the brain and we feel pain. When the gate is closed, these pain messages are blocked and we do not feel pain. TENS machines are thought to stimulate certain non-pain-carrying nerves and close the gate. In effect, the brain is busy dealing with the messages it receives quickly from the TENS machine, rather than the slower pain signals that the body is receiving from elsewhere. It explains why, if you injure yourself, rubbing that area can temporarily reduce the pain.
    • When the machine is set on a low pulse rate it stimulates the body to make its own pain-easing chemicals called endorphins. These act a bit like morphine to block pain signals.

    What Is A Tens Machine

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a treatment that administers mild electrical currents to the skin to relieve pain. A small, lightweight, hand-held, battery-operated device produces the electrical currents and lead wires send these currents to self-adhesive electrode pads that attach to your skin.

    While using a TENS machine, you’ll experience a non-painful tingling or buzzing sensation, and this can help to block or suppress pain messages. Two electrode pads are usually positioned either side of the area of most intense pain. This is done so that the TENS sensation covers the painful area.

    Four electrode pads can be used to treat a larger area of pain. You’ll be able to control the strength, of the current that’s passed through the electrodes, with a rotary knob or dial. Some machines have larger controls that are easier to use if your hand movements are limited.

    Adjust the strength of the current until the tingling sensation from TENS is strong, but not painful. You’ll also be able to adjust the pattern and speed of the current, so that the TENS sensation is as comfortable as possible. Many TENS machines are digital and have helpful pre-sets to help you choose the best settings for your pain.

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    Can Tens Machines Be Used By Everybody

    TENS machines tend mainly to be used to help reduce pain from problems in muscles, joints and nerves . They may work better for these problems than for tummy , chest or head pains. Unlike a lot of medication there are virtually no side-effects when using a TENS machine. However, people with the following must not use a TENS machine:

    • When the cause of the pain is not known or is not diagnosed.
    • Pregnancy .
    • Pacemakers.
    • Epilepsy or certain types of heart disease.

    Gateway Theory Of Pain Control

    How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain

    The gate control theory of electrical stimulation for back pain, introduced in the 1960s, states that when nerves are stimulated near a gate they close it. Stimulating nerves near the spinal cord closes a gate mechanism. Which, in effect, eliminates the pain sensation when using TENS therapy for back pain relief.

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    How Often Can You Use A Tens Unit Can You Use A Tens Unit Too Much

    Because of the low-risk treatment of TENS units, you can use them for as long and as often as needed. Professional doctors and physical therapists usually recommend pain treatment sessions of 30 minutes at a time with 20 minute break periods in between.

    If over-used some soreness may occur while having the settings up too high can lead to uncomfortable muscle twitching. Some have reported a burning sensation to the skin when over-treating the affected area.

    Tens For Muscle Knots In The Back

    Often it is a few muscle knots in the back that are the main culprits of your back pain, which can develop from improper movements done overtime or sudden jerky movements.

    A muscle knot is a patch of sensitive soft tissue, which feels like aching muscle. Luckily, TENS seem to work effectively with muscle knots.

    A 1997 study of TENS used for specifically treating muscle knots found positive results. They compared nerve stimulation, muscle stimulation, and a placebo for 60 patients with several knots in their shoulders .

    They found that TENS provided a more effective and more immediate relief of pain from muscle knots than the other methods of treatment. The effects were statistically significant and provided evidence that TENS may be effectively used for treating tight muscle knots in the lower and upper back, in addition to other places in the body.

    To use a TENS unit for muscle knots, simply use the protocol described in the previous section but apply the electrodes to the muscle knots in your back.

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    How Tens Therapy Works

    Your pain journey is unique to you, and thats why its essential that your pain relief program is customized according to your needs. And with PowerDots Smart TENS, you can do just that.

    Once youve settled your problem area and TENS electrode placement, you can confirm the type of pain whether chronic, acute, muscle pain, sports injury-related, and the like. Then, set your maximum pain tolerance score. PowerDots algorithms will take all of this information to tailor a specialized program for your specific needs.

    One important point to note is that your TENS therapy does not and should not hurt, even though the body area its working on does. Your muscles may be vibrating from the pulses, but it shouldnt give you unbearable sensations. Throughout the session, you are in full control of the pulsing intensity, so you can increase or decrease it as you see fit.

    Whats more, PowerDot is not just a portable and wireless TENS unit. Its also app-based, so you can easily track your progress and monitor your pain score over time. This will help you understand how your body reacts to your daily activities and how these affect your levels of pain. This allows you to have an even more personalized experience with your device.

    Using a wireless TENS unit is easy and effectively relieves your pain if used properly. Essentially, you apply the TENS pads to your pain area, adjust the TENS electrode placement, manage the pulse intensity, and allow it to work its magic on you.

    Proper Electrodeplacement When Using A Tens Unit For The Back

    How to Use A TENS Unit for Back Pain

    As mentioned above, the tens unit pads can be placed virtuallyanywhere on the back. A general rule isto place the first electrode pad directly where you are feeling pain. The second pad is needed to complete thecircuit and can be placed horizontally or vertically from the first pad. If you are experiencing general lower backpain, you will want to place a pad on each side of the spine . If the pain is isolated and inone area, then you can place the second pad directly next to the first pad or justabove or below the first pad .

    Check out our tens unit reviews and considerpurchasing a unit from Utopia Gear to help manage your pain. The reviews reflect our high level ofcustomer service as well as the superior products we sell. And if you already have a TENS unit and want to experience a modern device that is not only TENS but also electronic muscle stimulation, order here. We are here toanswer any questions you may have. Email us at or call us anytime at .

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    What Does Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Do

    TENS units use electrical stimulation and electrothermal therapy to deliver short-term pain relief by placing electrodes on the skin and delivering a low-voltage electrical current. While researchers are not sure how the therapy relieves pain, they believe the electricity stimulates nerves, confusing the brain and blocking pain signals from getting through.

    These units can be purchased for at-home use, and they can be effective in the short term for many conditions. However, they are not a substitute for addressing the root cause of pain. Simply controlling pain is rarely the best course of treatment. In fact, after reviewing studies on the treatment of low-back pain lasting three months or longer, the official position of the American Academy of Neurology is that TENS has not been shown to be effective at reducing chronic low-back pain.

    Talk to us before you purchase an at-home TENS unit. If you suffer from low-back pain or another ailment, make an appointment so we can assess your symptoms and the causes of your pain. The most effective long-term treatment will almost always include a course of exercises that you can perform at home.

    We can design an individualized program of strengthening and stretching exercises, and guide you through the exercises here in our office. Performing these regularly will not only speed recovery but also keep your muscles, joints and discs healthy, lessening the chance of future back-pain episodes.

    How To Properly Use A Tens Unit For Back Pain

    When it comes to back pain, there are several possible solutions you can turn to reduce the painful symptoms you may feel. There are solutions for short-term relief and long-term relief.

    One such method for short-term back pain relief is electrotherapy, more specifically, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for back pain.

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    How Tens Might Help Back Pain

    There is little research to support how — or even if — TENS really works. Its use dates back to the 1960s with the introduction of the gate control theory of pain. According to the theory, stimulating nerves closes a “gate” mechanism in the spinal cord, and that can help eliminate the sensation of pain. During a TENS treatment for back pain, electrodes are placed on the skin over an area of pain in the back. This creates electrical impulses that travel along nerve fibers and create a tingling sensation. The pain relief usually starts immediately and stops shortly after treatment.

    Another theory is that stimulating the nerves may help the body produce natural painkillers called endorphins.

    Research, though, has for the most part failed to support the use of TENS alone for back pain. In one review of four studies comparing TENS to placebo, conflicting evidence made it difficult to determine whether TENS is beneficial in reducing back pain intensity.


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