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What is TENS and Why it is Used?

Muscular pains can be tough to handle at times and are not bearable for everyone. If one part of the body feels pains, your whole body gets affected, this is because the pain signals are sent from the body’s “central unit” which is the brain. In order to get rid of this pain, people use different types of pain relievers. The pain-relieving ointments, which are not always helpful enough to reach to your muscles inside the body, the pain killer injections which of course not for you if you have a “needle phobia”. The medicines might help you for a while, but medications are harmful to a long term pain-relieving treatment. Just because of that, you need to check Zarifa USA.

How it works

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Since we are living in the 21st century, TENS Unit is the best way to treat body pain, thanks to technology. But the question is, what exactly the TENS Unit it? And how does it work? TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator. It is an amazing battery-operated machine/ device. It has two electrodes, each connected to a pad. These pads are adhesive and have to be applied or attached to the person’s skin. This TENS unit carries the message through these electrodes into the person’s skin. These messages are the small electric impulses but in large quantity, sent to the brain directly and not the effective body part (as other pain reliever mediums do).

Why it is used and where

The TENS Unit is highly effective because when the brain gets flooded with so many electrical impulses, it stops to send the pain messages/ signals to that body pain, which eventually decreases the intensity of the pain and so the person starts to feel better. TENS Unit is used in hospitals, but some people use it at home as well to treat chest and back pains, sports injuries, etc. although it is recommended to use it under a trained professional after examination and to know the intensity of the pain to set the frequency of the impulses per second.

TENS Unit is not only used for a single body part or some types of pain, but it can be used for minor to acute pains. It is beneficial and is used to treat various medical conditions, such as Arthritis, spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, etc. Since the pad is adhesive, it can easily be applied any part of the body from back to chest, neck, knee, hands, foot, thigh, anywhere. But it should be applied to the area with pressure points or nearest to the effected one for a speedy recovery.

The benefits

Helps to get rid of medications

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Although invented way back, it is now successfully used in all the hospitals all over the world because of its advantages. These advantages include speedy and long term pain relief from not just minor but the worst kinds of pain, which are not easy to go via an injection of medications. Since medicines are harmful to the health and can work oppositely (harm the body rather than helping relied pain) as they are highly addictive and the user should not be extended more than the course limit recommended by the doctor. Some of the medicines do not help after a certain age. TENS Unit has helped doctors in this regard, and they consider replacing medications with a TENS Unit for treatment as, unlike medicines, it does not have any harmful effect on the body.

Easy to carry

For the people using it at home, it finds it easy to use without the need to have any expertise in handling and to operate the TENS. It has a small box sized screen that shows the intensity and frequency of the impulses sent per second and the two electrodes attached to the adhesive pads. The overall Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator is as small as the size of an apple, which makes it portable and easy to carry anywhere or everywhere. Some pains might require twice or thrice usages per day. You can carry it in your pocket in the park and have your treatment together or carry it in your athlete bag as a safety precaution and treatment in the cause of an injury during a sport.


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As it is battery operated, it does not requires an electric supply while treatment, which makes it cost-effective. You need to invest once, and you are good to go for a long time.

Won’t give you anxiety!

This small portable machine does not have many wirings, needles, and creepy sounds that might haunt the older adults who are afraid to go to the hospitals and get themselves treated can use it from the comfort of their homes without any fear.

Possible Side effects

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As everything in the world has some disadvantages, the TENS Unit can also have some side effects. These side effects are not significant, but one has to bring these into consideration before using the TENS Unit. The adhesive pads can cause skin irritation in some people with sensitive skin or with people with a skin allergy to adhesive tapes. The professional staff at hospitals should always ask the patient whether the person has any skin issues or not.

TENS creates a slight buzzing sound and vibration, which again can cause discomfort in some people. Also, it does not feel like a burden, but knowing the person’s feelings about it should also be the priority of the operator/handler.

The neck is a sensitive part of the body, although the TENS Unit can be placed on the neck, it is recommended not to place it on the neck as it increases the blood pressure. The eyes should also be avoided and other sensitive areas.

When to avoid using TENS

There are some essential notes to remember before treating someone using Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator. These notes are about when and on whom to avoid using TENS. Pregnant women cannot use TENS. The impulse transmission can harm their and their baby’s health. If necessary, the pelvic and the abdominal area have to be avoided while placing the electrodes. The same is with the people having cardiac issues. Since their heart is already a week, it might not bear the vigorous vibrations and flooding of the excessive electric impulses which can cause serious damage to their already not-so-strong nervous system.

The people who had gone through the implantations such as a pacemaker or any other electric implants should also avoid using the Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator. The electrode can trigger that implant, and their body’s system can get disturbed while treating one part of the body; the other should not feel pain too. Lastly, the ones with epilepsy. They can apply the Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator unit, but the only part of the body that they have to avoid is the neck and head of these people. This may trigger seizures if electrodes are placed in these regions.

Does the TENS unit work?

The answer to this is yes, but not for all. The doctors and researchers are still trying to figure out if it helps for everyone or not. The experiences vary from person to person and on the medical condition as well. For example, it might work for the person with chest pain but not for the person with spinal cord pain. The answer to “how long it provides the relief” is also the same. Some people experience immediate relief, while some might need to use TENS twice or thrice. It may work differently with people having the same kind of pain. For example, the two people with spinal cord pain, one might get relief earlier than the other one. Some people also experience that the relief is gone as soon as the Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator is turned off, and the electrodes are removed. But this does not happen with everyone.

The reason why it is not recommended by doctors to use the TENS unit at home is that when it is used again and again to get relief from the pain, just like medicines, the person’s body may become tolerant to the Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator. If it gave relief from the pain in the first use, the people use it frequently even for the slightest pains. Then the person’s body becomes tolerant of the vibrations, excessive electric impulses. It knows exactly how the impulses are entering the body, the brain’s conscious corner recognizes these signals. It no longer works to flood the brain’s cognitive hole and to stop the pain signals passing out of the mind. This way, the frequent use of Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulator is no longer beneficial for that person.

One way to avoid this is to use TENS Unit only for awful pains. Or, the frequency can be changed if TENS is being used daily. If the frequency is low for a day, a high frequency should be chosen for the next day, to balance and, in simple words, “confuse” the mind, so it does not recognize the TENS Unit as an artificial impulse giver.

About Marta Sebos