TENS: Relieve pain with electrical power

As soon as 4,500 years back, Egyptians were thought to have used energy to relieve pain: they lay out on the afflicted areas of the body of seafood, which delivered small surges. Today, soreness therapists use tens machine therapy with pores and skin electrodes for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). The fathers of the TENS are pain experts Professor Ronald Melzack and Professor Patrick Wall. In the 1960s, they designed a new concept of pain perception, the so-referred to as control cabinet theory. This claims that a unpleasant stimulus is on the path to the brain in the spinal cord is switched to another nerve cell. Both nerve pathways descending from the mind and stimuli from the periphery can block this pain transmission. Predicated on this theory, the researchers then produced the TENS approach, which triggers stimuli in the periphery.

tens machine therapyLittle work and low risks

Many reports certify TENS efficacy. “However, most research do not meet up with the necessary quality criteria,” says Professor Andreas Michalsen, Head of the Section of Natural Medication at the Immanuel Medical center Berlin and Professor of Naturopathy at the Charité Berlin. “The scientific data for the procedure is therefore bad.” Nevertheless, every pain therapist knows the method. Reasons for the widespread work with are the simplicity, the low cost and the fact that TENS is considered to be always a low-risk and low-side-effect method: with proper work with, apart from slight skin area irritations, no harm has been noticed by TENS.

Software of TENS in numerous pain syndromes

“If a pain lowering occurs, it is often modest,” admits Michalsen with false expectations. “Nevertheless, it really is worthwhile undertaking cure trial with TENS for therapy-resistant discomfort , as a dietary supplement to all of those other therapy.”

As an accompanying measure, doctors use the method for sports injuries and different joint complaints, and headaches , migraine attacks, tumor soreness, nerve soreness in diabetes or shingles , as part of algodystrophy ( Sudeck ‘s disease ) and in phantom soreness after amputations. Whether TENS is the right treatment method in individual instances, the patient should discuss with the doctor.

A post-operative guideline recommends the task to reduce pain and the necessity for analgesics after particular procedures. By contrast, the authors of the guideline “low back pain” usually do not see any profit in general low back discomfort.

When should not TENS take place?

Epilepsy , mental disease, pregnancy , pacemakers or an implanted defibrillator speak against a TENS – and actually in people with acute inflammation of joints or organs is usually to be foreseen by a TENS.

Theory of the function of actions of the TENS

Epidermis electrodes transmit the current pulses of the device to the body. The current irritates the nerves in the cells. These send electric indicators to the spinal cord, where – according to the control cabinet theory of the inventors – the TENS effect unfolds. The stimulation with large frequencies (80 to 150 hertz) so interrupts the signal transmission to the brain and thus the perception of soreness. Low TENS frequencies (two to four hertz) must have a different impact: Regarding to theory, they relieve chemical compounds in the mind that dampen discomfort perception.

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