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Pocket TENS Unit For Pain Relief

By John Clarke

Living in constant pain is a reality for many people and how well they cope with it depends on the degree of pain and the character of the person.

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While pain relief can be managed in the short term using analgesics, their long-term use can be detrimental to the user’s health. Side effects of prolonged analgesics use include liver and kidney damage and in some cases irritation to the lining of the stomach. Thankfully, in many cases there is an alternative: TENS or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

In many cases where pain is constant, a medical practitioner or physiotherapist may recommend the use of a TENS unit.

These are not a gimmick or a new-age form of treatment. Tests have shown that TENS is an effective and safe way to manage chronic and acute pain with virtually no side effects. Chronic pain conditions that can be alleviated with TENS include, arthritis, lumbago, neck and back pain, post herpetic neuralgia and sciatica. Acute pain conditions such as fractures, muscular pains, post operative pain and tennis elbow can also be managed with a TENS unit.

A TENS unit provides electrical stimulation of the painful area using electrodes attached to the skin. It can cause a tingling sensation in the area where the pads are attached. How the TENS reduces pain is unknown. Some suggest that the nerves are stopped from sending signals to the brain and thus the pain is removed. Alternatively, the stimulation could induce the body to produce natural pain relieving substances called endorphins.

Whatever the reason, a TENS unit can give pain relief for many people, with minimal side effects. It does not provide a cure for the underlying cause of the pain but has the major benefit that the amount of pain killing drugs can be substantially reduced.

  • Battery powered
  • Adjustable voltage level
  • Adjustable pulse rate
  • Adjustable pulse width
  • Intermittent or continuous output
  • Nor is it addictive. Sometimes there can be skin irritation surrounding the electrodes and this can be reduced or alleviated by changing the type of electrode.

    Note that a TENS unit must not be used if you have a heart pacemaker. A TENS unit also should not be used if the cause of the pain has not been established or if you are pregnant. When using the TENS unit do not attach the electrodes anywhere around the front of the neck, and be sure the TENS unit is kept out of reach of children. It should be treated like any other medicine, by storing it in a childproof cabinet.

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