What is a TENS machine?
A TENS machine generates electrical impulses; the machine is hooked up and electrodes are placed on the affected parts of the body. A TENS machine is specifically designed to reduce the sensation of pain.
How does this treatment work?
A TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) machine is designed to reduce pain by changing the way the nerve signals reach the brain; more intense impulses are thought to shut off the pain signals that are transmitted from the injured area of the body to the brain, meaning the patient does not feel pain. Less intensive impulses are thought to encourage the body to create natural chemicals which combat pain; these are commonly known as endorphins.
Is this an effective treatment?
Clinical experts have not reached a consensus on the efficacy of TENS treatment; some studies claim it is an extremely effective treatment, while others conclude that it has little effect. In general, some people seem to benefit from it, while others feel little difference. Further research is being done to examine the overall success of this type of treatment.
Is TENS treatment suitable for everyone?
TENS treatment is not suitable for everyone as it interferes with nerve activity, which may have serious implications for some patients who suffer from existing health conditions; patients with heart problems, epilepsy and those who have had a pacemaker fitted should not have this type of treatment. Pregnant women are also usually advised to avoid treatment using a TENS machine. Other techniques will usually be used initially and TENS treatment will not be used of the source of pain has not been identified.