Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

| May 21, 2010 | 0 Comments | 389 views

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a technique in which mild electric currents are applied to areas of the skin by a small power pack connected to two electrodes. It is also known as TENS and sometimes denoted as TNS. A passive, non-invasive, non-addictive modality with few side effects, TENS works to improve mobility, decrease pain perception and may be used to control acute and chronic pain.

The method involves passage of a low-voltage electric current to electrodes pasted on the skin. The current may be delivered intermittently. The mild electric current generates heat that serves to relieve stiffness, improve mobility and relieve pain. The treatment stimulates the body’s production of endorphins or natural painkillers. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can be of three types namely Conventional TENS, acupuncture-like TENS and auricular TENS.

Frequency, intensity and site of application depend on the specific condition and treatment goals. TENS can be used to treat a number of disorders like acute and chronic pain associated with cancer, joint disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, back pain, dysmenorrhea, nerve disorders, labor pain, nausea, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, postoperative recovery, gastroparesis, cognitive impairment and much more.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is used in a variety of different clinical settings and has become popular with both patients and health professionals. It may be prescribed in combination with other treatments, primarily to provide relief from acute forms of nerve pain. TENS should not be used in people with implanted medical devices such as cardiac defibrillators, pacemakers, intravenous infusion pumps or hepatic artery infusion pumps. Portable TENS equipments are available for use which can be worn around the waist. 

TENS, might in some cases, have side effects such as skin irritation and redness, hives, welts, allergic skin reactions, and burns. A number of isolated side effects such as nausea, muscle ache, headache, increased hair growth, dizziness, and loss of sensation have also been reported. So this technique should be used only under the strict supervision of an experienced licensed healthcare practitioner. 

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