A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS) is a small, portable machine that generates adjustable levels of electricity to block nerve signals in those experiencing pain.
What does it involve?
A TENS is a small machine that attaches to the surface of the skin using electrodes. When it is switched on, the TENS generates electricity that penetrates into the body. The intensity of the electricity is adjustable. At the most effective setting, the TENS machine is painless and produces a mild ticklish sensation.
TENS machines are believed to work by interfering with pain signals. The electricity prevents the nerves from carrying pain messages to the brain.
TENS units come in many varieties. Some are so small they can be worn clipped to a belt.
TENS is more effective for some chronic pain conditions than others.
TENS machines reduce or block pain only while you are using the machine.
It may require time and effort to find a comfortable and effective setting on the TENS unit.
Insurance may not pay for a TENS machine.
If used at too high a setting, the TENS machine may cause muscle twitching, pain, and soreness after use. If worn for a long time, especially at a high setting, the electrodes may cause skin irritation.
If TENS is used frequently, the body may become tolerant, and the treatment loses effectiveness.
TENS machines are not appropriate for pregnant women or people with heart problems.