• Wednesday April 8,2020

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, better known as TENS, helps with electrical impulses in a variety of acute or chronic pain. These are distributed evenly on the painful areas with the help of electrodes that are stuck to the skin. This stimulation of the nerves is offered in numerous pain clinics and also in physiotherapy practices. Meanwhile, there are even high quality devices that you can also use wonderful at home.

What is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation?

In TENS, electrical impulses are evenly distributed to the painful areas by means of electrodes that are stuck to the skin.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can well alleviate all the pain that affects the musculoskeletal system. Especially pain in the muscles and joints are treated with this popular device. Therefore, stimulation of the nerves with the TENS device is offered in all good physiotherapy practices.

More and more practices are also lending their devices to the patients so that they can decide at their own time when they want to perform the treatment. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is prescribed by every doctor, especially the orthopedist. The rent of a TENS device for the domestic use is taken over by some health insurance companies even; However, you have to make an application first. The additional payment for the rental room is then for the patient a maximum of ten euros. If you do not want to borrow this device, you will find it in many well-stocked online shops for sale. Already from 100 Euro good TENS devices are available.

Function, effect & goals

The stimulation current, which is generated with the TENS device, is used particularly frequently in acute as well as chronic back pain. But also the symptoms of other diseases can be significantly alleviated with the stimulation of nerves by means of electricity. For muscular tension of all kinds as well as lumbago, the TENS device is used successfully. Here are other indicators that speak for the use of electrical stimulation of the nerves:

  • acute and chronic pain
  • Outside ankle ligament injury
  • ball pain
  • Bands overstretching
  • Joint pain of all kinds
  • wrist instability
  • hip osteoarthritis
  • Pain in the hip
  • sciatica
  • Capsule ligament
  • Knickfußbeschwerden
  • Damage to the meniscus
  • Migraine or tension headache
  • Phantom pain after amputations
  • Postoperative pain
  • Contusions / sprains
  • Rheumatic complaints
  • Housemaid's knee
  • shoulder pain
  • frozen shoulder
  • tendon disorders
  • Tennis or golfer elbow

Incidentally, the stimulation of the nerves is now not only used to relieve pain, also in the fitness area, the TENS devices are very popular. Through the stimulation current, the affected muscles are addressed and stimulated. The current affects the nerve tracts that lead to the brain and which are responsible for the management of pain. Furthermore, the treatment with the TENS device should increase the endorphin secretion and thus stimulate the metabolism.

The use of such a TENS device is very simple and can be operated by the patient alone at home after instruction by the doctor. The device itself is not much bigger than a mobile phone; attached to it are two to four electrodes that adhere to the skin by itself. Depending on the location of certain pain and acupuncture points, these are attached to the skin. Not only acupuncture points, but also trigger points are often chosen to fix the electrodes. At an average current and frequencies between 50 and 150 Hertz now the surges are sent; especially in acute pain, this should be very helpful.

But if you choose a higher current and lower frequencies between five and ten hertz, this pain-relieving effect can be extended. Although the pain relief does not start immediately at this low frequency, it lasts even longer. The current is of course not painful, only a slight tingling sensation is felt by some patients. This is AC; Physicians also speak of so-called square-wave pulses because the frequency phases change during treatment.

A session with the TENS device should take about between 20 and 50 minutes, with several applications per day are quite possible. Optimal are two applications of a duration of 45 minutes a day. A longer stimulation is not recommended, because then the so-called habituation effect occurs. If you suffer from acute pain, you can get rid of it with the help of electrical stimulation of the nerves after a few sessions. In chronic pain, however, a longer-lasting treatment is recommended. Since the electrical nerve stimulation is completely harmless, you can use a TENS device for weeks or even months.

Risks, side effects & dangers

Caregivers of pacemakers and epileptics should avoid electrical nerve stimulation as well as pregnant women. The same applies to patients who suffer from thrombosis in the arteries or veins. In case of fever and other inflammations, it is not recommended to use the TENS device.

All other patients, however, are unconditionally recommended transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This application is medically absolutely harmless and unlike medicines free of risks and side effects. Particularly popular is the mobile TENS device for the home, because with this one can divide his time freely and is not bound to the opening hours of pain clinic or physiotherapy. All in all, the electrical stimulation of the nerves is a good complement to massages, physiotherapy or other physical therapies.


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