TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) is a type of electrotherapy equipment that works by sending small electrical pulses through the skin via ten unit electrodes to the underlying peripheral nerves. TENS is thought to work in two ways. First, “high frequency” continuous, mild, electrical activity blocks the pain signal traveling to the brain. Brain cells perceive pain. If the pain signal does not get through to the brain, the pain is not “felt.” The second way is by stimulating the body’s own natural pain-control mechanism. “Low frequency” or short bursts of mild electrical activity cause the body to release its own pain easers called beta endorphins.
The use of TENS usually improves pain management significantly. TENS units are safe, non-invasive, drug free, non-addictive and have no side effects. TENS can reduce the need for pain narcotics and drugs. Federal law restricts many of these devices to sale by or on the order of a physician. TENS is a FDA regulated non-narcotic pain relief device.
TENS devices are safe! Although the thought of electrical impulses being sent into the body may seem frightening at first, all you really feel is a slight vibrating sensation through the tens unit electrode. Unlike many drugs, TENS devices have no known side effects and the electrode pads are latex-free for those with sensitivity to latex.