Back pain is one of the most common forms of pain affecting the population at large. Unfortunately, back pain can stem from a number of reasons, including an accident, injury, bad posture, or straining activity. Some back pain is acute and may fade over time, while other back pain is chronic and will flare up at any given moment throughout your life.
As with any form of pain treatment, it is important to get the go ahead from your physician before beginning use with a TENS unit. These units deliver harmless and pain-free electrical impulses to the affected area in an effort to decrease pain, and increase the natural pain killing chemicals which your body releases when hurt. They can be purchased in many shops, online, or through your physician.
Using TENS For Back Pain
Many sufferers of back pain find themselves using a number of different methods for pain relief all at the same time. Muscle rub, ice packs, hot compresses, massage, and medication are often mixed together to find the most relief. While many of these treatments are harmless and helpful, some can lead to further problems, such as addiction, in terms of medications. Pain medicine is recognized as one of the most addictive, especially when prescription pain medicines are being used. TENS units offer relief without the worry of addiction or the addition of extra chemicals into your body. Web MD reports: “Some people feel less pain when the electrical impulses are delivered. This could be because stimulating the nerves blocks other pain signals. Another theory is that stimulating the nerves may help the body produce natural painkillers called endorphins.”
TENS units can be used with your physician, with a physical therapist, or on your own in the safety and comfort of your own home. Many of these machines are portable and quite compact, making it easy to take them to the office, on vacation, or keep them in the bedside table. Following directions on time, placement, and care is extremely important, because while the impulses are pain free and quite safe, it is still a medical tool which must be treated with respect.
Back Pain Compared To Other Pain Types
TENS units are known for being used mainly in cases of chronic pain, many times in the area of the back, but individuals may use Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for many other types of treatments. One type, which may not be considered as frequently as back pain, is during dental procedures. Dentists can use TENS units which are designed especially for these treatments to calm patient stress and anxieties by offering pain free practices. Livestrong states: “The Journal of American Dental Association notes that patients were less likely to return for dental treatments after experiencing painful dental procedures. They noted, however, that when the TENS unit was utilized as a pain inhibitor during dental procedures that clients followed through on later routine dental care.”
Other uses for TENS include labour and delivery during the end of pregnancy. Like the units used in dentistry, many machines designed for labour and delivery are made specifically for use during pregnancy. These may offer lower dosage rates for pulsating electrical currents and different ergonomic qualities. One thing is certain, however, medical professionals agree that pregnant women should not use Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation during pregnancy, unless it is under the direct instruction and supervision of a doctor. The reason that these devices are only used for delivery is that the long term effect of such electrical currents on an unborn fetus are yet unknown.
How Back Pain Dissipates With TENS
TENS units are known to deliver an electrical impulse which works to block the pain receptors from receiving signals of pain. During this process, the impulses can also stimulate the natural creation of pain calming natural chemicals in your body, which can further alleviate pain symptoms and leave you feeling renewed. Healthline explains: “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may result in instant or prolonged pain relief. Through the release of endorphins and the control of nerves, TENS sends relief directly to the site of pain.”
When it comes to back pain, it is important to pinpoint the exact area or areas where the pain is occurring. For some individuals this can be a wide range all across the back, while others focus their pain in one area. The TENS machine may be used in different locations, but following the time guidelines for length of time and pulse intensity is critical to finding success in this type of treatment. It will also protect you from overuse and offer the best possible results for pain relief.
If you suffer from chronic back pain as a result of injury, strain, or fibromyalgia, you can speak to your physician about whether or not TENS would be a good fit for you. Not everybody can benefit from Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, due to pacemakers and other heart conditions. If this is the case then your doctor should be able to prescribe you with an alternative therapy for chronic pain symptoms.
A prescription is generally needed for most units, but some can now be purchased without. The machine which don’t require a prescription may be less intense in their delivery of electricity, but have been found to be similarly successful in treating many varieties of ongoing pain symptoms. Even if you don’t use a prescription, speaking to a medical professional before using TENS is encouraged.