TENS therapy, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy, is a non-invasive and low-risk device that uses electric currents to stimulate nerves to relieve pain conditions. Electrodes placed on the skin near the affected area send impulses of varying frequency and intensity to treat either short term or chronic pain. It is a great pain management alternative for those who are wary of drugs or other possibly addictive painkilling methods.
Physical therapists will often recommend TENS therapy to patients experiencing pain as an alternative to pain medicine. The effectiveness of TENS proves it to be an excellent source of drug-free pain control therapy.
TENS Therapy and the Release of Endorphin Hormones
Studies of pain have shown that pain is relieved by releasing hormones, such as endorphins, which the body releases in response to an injury or stress. They are composed of a similar chemical structure to Morphine or other pain-killing medications but are entirely natural. A TENS unit creates a pulsing rhythm that causes the muscles to “twitch,” which allows the release of the endorphin hormone. For example, exercise also releases endorphins, which is why some people experience a “runners high.” This feeling of pleasure is similar to the sensations produced by a TENS unit, which combat pain signals.
TENS therapy provides pain control through two methods, the first of which is referred to as “pain gating.” Electrodes send millions of impulses through the nerve endings into the spinal cord and brain, which effectively block the slower pain impulses from connecting. Pain signals have much smaller nerve diameters when compared to the pleasant impulses which cause them to be overridden by the size and capacity of the signals provided by TENS. This is similar to the body's instinct to stop the pain. When you hit your elbow, you instinctively start rubbing the injured spot. This massage stimulates the nerves and creates pleasurable signals to overwhelm the pain.
TENS Therapy Uses
TENS therapy can be used for many ailments, including:
- Acute or chronic pain
- Muscle soreness from a difficult workout
- Cancer pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
- Carpal Tunnel
- Labor pain: This method has proven that it's possible to receive all-natural pain relief without using potentially addictive pain medicine.
TENS therapy is an all-natural way to relieve all types of pain for those who want results without using harmful drugs.