TENS units work by delivering small electrical impulses through electrodes that have adhesive pads to attach them to a person’s skin.
These electrical impulses flood the nervous system, reducing its ability to transmit pain signals to the spinal cord and brain.
The same electrical impulses also stimulate the body to produce natural pain relievers called endorphins.
TENS units may help treat the following symptoms:
They may also alleviate pain that results from the following conditions:
- sports injuries
- multiple sclerosis
- painful diabetic neuropathy
- spinal cord injury
A TENS unit has controls that allow people to administer an appropriate level of pain relief.
TENS is a noninvasive method for relieving pain. People who experience pain relief from TENS may be able to reduce their intake of pain medications, some of which can be addictive or cause adverse side effects.
TENS units are also convenient because they are small, portable, and relatively discrete. People can carry a TENS unit in their pocket or clip it onto a belt to ensure that they have immediate access to pain relief throughout the day.
Although it is safe for most people, experts recommend that some groups of people avoid TENS treatment unless a doctor advises its use.
This recommendation applies to the following people:
- Pregnant women: Pregnant women should avoid using TENS in the abdominal and pelvic regions.
- People with epilepsy: Applying electrodes to the head or neck of people with epilepsymay induce seizures.
- People with heart problems.
- People with a pacemaker or another type of electrical or metal implant.