It might seem counterintuitive to use electrical impulses to control pain but it’s been used for a very long time in naturopathic medicine as a pain management technique. It’s a great drug-free way to control chronic pain.
How does it work?
TENS units (aka Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) lessens pain by sending painless electrical impulses through electrodes (sticky patches) placed on the skin. The electrical signals travel from the TENS unit through wires to the electrodes.
The signal then passes to the nerves under the skin. These nerves take messages to the brain about what they feel, such as touch, warmth, pressure, and pain. TENS signals can replace the message of pain on these nerves with a tingling sensation. This changes your impression of the pain! The TENS signals may also increase the amount of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are a pain-relieving chemical made naturally by your body
Where do you put the electrodes? it depends on the type and location of your pain. The electrodes may be placed to “cover” or “surround” the painful area. This works very well with muscle pain, spasms, or painful joints as in arthritis. Or, the electrodes may be placed to “capture” the pain as with the pain of a surgery incision (cut). The electrodes may be put between an injured nerve and the brain when a nerve has been hurt.
Here are some ideas for electrode placement but it is best to meet with a professional before starting this technique to fully understand the placement and settings of the unit.
The options are endless! What a great way to decrease the pain without taking drugs. Treatment typically lasts 3-5 days.