During the Ancient Roman era, especially in 60 A.D., people would stand on electrical fish as a way to relieve pain. This practice has not been used for thousands of years, but the approach to reliving pain has not changed very much. Over the years, scientists and inventors such as Benjamin Franklin, have been trying to find a way to relieve pain via machine. All of this research paid off when neurosurgeon, Clyde Norman Shealy, officially patented a useable TENS unit – the device allowing for what is known as “TENS therapy”.
What Is A TENS Unit?
A TENS unit is described as a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy. Try saying those words five times in a row. This form of therapy assists patients with acute and chronic pain via an electrotherapy. By allowing this type of therapy to be performed on-the-go, many people have been allowed a better quality of life.
A TENS unit can start relieving pain within minutes. The machine is usually safe to use for incriminates of 10-15 minutes, but never surpassing 30 minutes. A TENS unit is composed of a battery-operated device that transmits electrical “shocks” to the brain as a way to “distract” the brain from pain. This machine is often used to treat labor pains, joint pains and back pain. The use of the TENS unit has been a huge improvement in the lives of many people around the world. One of the biggest charms of using a device like this is the drug-free and alternative way to treat pain.
Managing pain has never been easy. The effectiveness of TENS therapy has very little research to support how it works and if it works at all. Overtime, the popular use and frequent model updates of the TENS units has lead consumers to believe that this form of therapy works. One of the main reasons this style of therapy works is because the body receives signals similar to those of endorphins that trick the brain into thinking “happy” thoughts instead of the pain.
Pain that is limited to a specific area or part of the body can be easily treated with this type of therapy. It should be stated that the TENS therapy will not work if you try to apply the pads on random parts of the body to help treat pain in multiple areas. Along with the use of TENS therapy, a healthy diet, good exercise and limiting medication can help improve pain relief overtime.
Important Items To Note
There are so many treatments and medicine available to the public that one never knows which direction to take or avoid. Using a pain reliever such as the TENS unit is usually prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist. This form of treatment is non-invasive and allows pain relief within minutes of turning on the device. There are many product brands that offer to get the job done and they are usually work effectively. Most people use this type of device in the privacy of their own home. While instruction manuals may include a do not use list, below are some of reasons or places not use a TENS unit.
- On the head
- During pregnancy
- Over the spinal column
- Over wounds or broken skin
- If you have a pacemaker
- Directly on the neck
- Have heart disease
- Over a tumor
Long-Term Effects On The Body
Many studies have indicated that a constant and long-term use of this device can have different effects on the brain. Not all these effects are stated to be negative, but unfortunately, mental stress is one of the most common side effects of using this type of device. As previously mentioned, the use of a TENS machine should only be considered if a medical professional or doctor has prescribed the use. Other side effects that can present themselves while using the TENS unit are:
- Increased pain
- Burning sensation on the skin
- Muscle soreness
- Allergic reaction
- Skin irritation
When To Avoid
There are so things that should be left unsaid, but unfortunately there are those who need to be repeated things constantly. The list below includes the precautions one should take while following a TENS therapy.
- Do not operate the machine while driving or sleeping
- Do not use the unit near water, especially shower or bathtub
- Do not use for prolonged periods of time
- Always seek the advice of a trained medical professional.