EXPLANATION OF PAIN:
Pain is a warning system and the body ís method of telling us that
something is wrong. Pain is important; without it abnormal conditions
may go undetected, causing damage or injury to vital parts of our
Even though pain is a necessary warning signal of trauma or
malfunction in the body, nature may have gone too far in its design.
Aside from its value in diagnosis, long-lasting persistent pain serves
no useful purpose. Pain does not begin until coded message travels
to the brain where it is decoded, analyzed, and then reacted to. The
pain message travels from the injured area along the small nerves
leading to the spinal cord. Here the message is switched to different
nerves that travel up the spinal cord to the brain. The pain message
is then interpreted, referred back and the pain is felt.
EXPLANATION OF TENS:
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a non-invasive, drugfree
method of controlling pain. TENS uses tiny electrical impulses
sent through the skin to nerves to modify your pain perception.
TENS does not cure any physiological problem; it only helps control
the pain. TENS does not work for everyone; however, in most
patients it is effective in reducing or eliminating the pain, allowing for
a return to normal activity.
Pelvic Pain - TENS has been used to treat several sources of pelvic pain, including interstitial cystitis (also known as painful bladder syndrome), menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) and prostatitis. With interstitial cystitis, TENS has been most effective in helping patients who have painful sores known as Hunnerís ulcers, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). TENS might reduce pelvic pain and urinary frequency by increasing circulation to the bladder, strengthening pelvic muscles or causing the release of endorphins, according to the agency.
In some cases, TENS has been used to relieve labor pains. However, this use remains controversial because of the lack of research on how the fetus is affected by the electrical impulses. In general, pregnant women should avoid using TENS unless under the strict supervision of their physician.
Back Pain - TENS may relieve the severe pain and muscle spasms that sometimes develop after a vertebral fracture caused by osteoporosis, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). It has also been used for conditions including spinal cord trauma, spinal stenosis, sciatica and herniated discs.
Shoulder Pain - TENS has been used to reduce pain associated with conditions such as frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) and rotator cuff injuries.
Post-Surgical Pain - Some evidence suggests that TENS may be effective in treating post-operative pain, including in open-heart surgery patients. It may also help control mild to moderate acute pain after an operation such as arthroscopy or arthroplasty.
Tendinitis and Bursitis - TENS may help patients with these and similar inflammatory conditions, such as tennis elbow.
Arthritis - Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other types of this disease have been treated with TENS.
Other forms of Joint Pain - TENS may, for example, benefit patients with neck pain caused by whiplash.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) - TENS sometimes relieves the chronic pain of this condition.
Peripheral Neuropathic Pain - TENS may be a treatment option for neuropathy caused by diabetes or other conditions, in which nerve sensation remains intact or sufficient. It may be possible to use TENS in cases of sensory neuropathy by delivering it through an intact nerve of the peripheral nervous system. For example, TENS applied on the thigh may relieve pain in a foot that has neuropathy. TENS may also be used in this way to avoid placing electrodes over areas with skin impairments such as a diabetic foot ulcer.
Postherpetic Neuralgia - This complication of shingles causes nerve and skin pain that TENS sometimes relieves.
Phantom Limb Pain - Techniques including TENS have been used to prevent or control chronic pain that may occur after an amputation.
Cranial Neuralgias and Facial Pain - Conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and TMJ disorder have been treated with TENS.
Headaches - TENS has been used as a treatment for tension headaches, migraines and other types of headaches.
Dental Pain - TENS has been used a form of dental anesthesia.
Cancer Pain - According to the National Cancer Institute, TENS is a low-risk treatment that might benefit cancer patients with mild to moderate pain.
Costochondritis - TENS may help relieve costochondritis, the most common cause of pain in the chest wall.
Fibromyalgia - The National Fibromyalgia Association reports that some fibromyalgia patients have been treated with techniques such as a pen-like metal roller that produces a mild electrical current as it is rolled on the body. In addition, stroke rehabilitation programs sometimes use TENS to stimulate nerves in weakened or paralyzed limbs. Healthcare providers may also use TENS to reduce edema (swelling due to fluid buildup), and it may have a role in treating pressure ulcers or other wounds. The role of TENS in treating neuromuscular conditions such as multiple sclerosis is being investigated.