Tens Unit | Feeling Tense? Give Tens Therapy a Try
Author J. Davis. Published on May 21, 2011 - 3:27 am (4304 views — 733 words
Several years ago the As Seen On TV Marketers came up with a product that claimed it could build muscle by sitting in a chair. Im sure they still make these products and Im sure many people still use them and claim they are great, but Im still skeptical. I am however convinced that TENS and EMS therapy are actually good for easing chronic pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, injury, surgery, etc.
It all started a couple of years ago when my wife who has rheumatoid arthritis was involved in a car accident. It caused her severe back pain and caused her several other complications. I took her to a specialist who put her on EMS therapy twice a week. She would come into his office two times a week to lay on his various EMS machines. EMS stands for Electronic Muscle Stimulator. EMS works by sending electrical pulses to the area of the body they are connected to. The stimulation, contraction and relaxation cycle created by EMS loosens muscle fibers, increases blood flow and stimulates healing. They are an excellent solution for stimulating neurons through the skin.
Electical stimulation used for controlling pain was reportedly used as far back as 63 AD by the ancient Greeks; they would stand on electrical fish on the shore. In the middle ages electrostatic devices were used for headache and other pain. Ben Franklin was a huge proponent of electrical stimulation for pain relief. In the 1800s a device called a electreat was invented for pain control, the problem was that it was not portable and had limited control of the electrical pulses so many people didnt like it. The first modern TENS unit was patented in1974 it was first used to test the tolerance of chronic pain patients to electrical stimuli but many patients reported relief from their chronic pain after using it.
Anyway back on topic. EMS therapy was really working for my wife so the doctor recommended that since my she had rheumatoid arthritis we should look into buying a TENS unit. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. The difference between TENS and EMS are which nerves in your body are stimulated during therapy. EMS Machines are designed to stimulate muscle nerves while TENS devices stimulate sensory nerves. Both types of treatment work by generating electrical impulses that stimulate nerves through the skin causing muscles controlled by those nerves to react by contracting.
I remember thinking when the doctor recommended that we look into buying one that TENS Units must be hugely expensive, however when I started researching them I found that they can be purchased over the counter and they arent nearly as expensive as expected. You can get an economy model like the Tens pro Tens 7000 for around $30 which has 5 modes, a digital screen, and comes with all the electrodes, wires, batteries needed and also comes with a nice hard carrying case. Or if you choose you can step up to the Elite Tens from LG Med Supply for around $100, The Elite Tens includes settings for both TENS and EMS Stimulation, 8 selectable programs, AC Adapter and Battery so you can make it portable if you choose. There are many different TENS Units to choose from but these are just a couple of the most popular models. For a more complete review see my related article Top Ten TENS Units.
In my opinion TENS therapy is a great alternative to pain killing drugs. It is a very non-invasive way to provide pain relieve right to the source. Its ideal for the treatment of arthritis because the pads can be placed near the area of pain and the TENS unit sends soothing pulses through the skin and along the nerve fibers. The pulses suppress pain signals in the brain and also encourage the body to produce more endorphins. In our experience it really does a lot to soothe the pain, stiffness, swelling etc caused by this horrible crippling disease.
We decided to go with the Economy Model for $30 and have been very happy with the results. My wife uses it all the time to soothe the stiffness, soreness, and aching from her rheumatoid arthritis. Its not a miracle cure, nothing is, but it really helps provide some relief which is always great when you have a chronic pain condition, any help at all is appreciated!