What is TENS?
T.E.N.S stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is a non-invasive, drug-free alternative for managing pain. For the past twenty years, doctors have been prescribing TENS as an effective way to reduce or even eliminate pain.
TENS sends tiny electrical signals through your skin to the nerve endings to suppress pain via two theories:
1) Gate Control Theory - overriding the nerve pain signals before they reach the brain
2) Endorphin release theory - releasing the body's own natural pain fighting chemicals called endorphins.
The iTENS deploys waveforms and other technical parameters that incorporate both of these clinical theories to provide immediate and long-lasting pain relief.
iTENS sends gentle electrical impulses through the wireless electrodes attached to pain sites
These tiny electrical signals elicit a sensory stimulation to the body's nervous system
Overriding pain signals from reaching the brain
Releases the body’s natural pain ﬁghting chemicals called endorphins
Tracks and charts the users pain reduction delta
How does TENS work to relieve pain?
TENS works by sending tiny electrical signals to the body's nerve or muscle fibers through the skin to the nerves. This suppresses pain by blocking the pain signals before they reach the brain. TENS sends these gentle impulses through the wireless electrodes attached to the body at strategic pain sites on the body. Because there are many different kinds of pain, and each individual is unique, pain relief varies from person to person. Some users experience pain relief only while the TENS unit is turned on. For others, relief continues for a length of time even after the unit is turned off.
The iTENS is the most advanced, pocket-sized and fully portable wireless TENS system on the market. The iTENS provides several different modes of operation and a variety of treatment options that are well organized for the user into presets.
Indications for Use
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Osteoarthritis Phantom Limb
- Reynaud's Syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
- Dysmenorrheal Labor
- Postoperative Pain
- Facet Syndrome
- Intercostals Neuralgia
- IVD Syndrome
- Lumbosacral Pain Radiculitis
- Whole Back Pain
Lower Extremity Pain:
- Ankle Pain
- Foot Pain
- Knee Pain Passive Stretch Pain
Upper Extremity Pain:
- Frozen Shoulder
- Hand Pain
- Peripheral Nerve Injury
- Subdeltoid Bursitis
- Wrist Pain
Benefits of a Wireless TENS Unit
A wireless TENS unit is a modern electrotherapy device that relieves joint and musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. It is a portable machine worn on the body for immediate therapeutic relief. Instead of dealing with lead cables that traditional devices have, a wireless unit provides hassle-free pain management. Users can readily use the machine with a push button and begin TENS therapy in seconds. In addition, advanced devices like iTENS incorporate digital technology to serve multiple needs.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) utilizes mild electrical impulses targeting the nerves to reduce pain. People with acute or chronic conditions use a TENS machine to ease discomfort while minimizing the intake of medicines. Unlike medications, TENS do not develop adverse side effects. Moreover, TENS offers many benefits for various pain situations. The article discusses the functions of TENS, the advantages of a wireless unit, and how to use them.
The Functions of a Wireless TENS Unit
A TENS machine involves delivering electrical impulses from the electrodes through the skin. Additionally, there are two main types of portable devices, traditional or wired and wireless TENS. They both employ electrode pads placed on the body to stimulate the nearby nerves. A standard TENS device connects the electrodes with wires to a handheld controller. However, a wireless TENS unit removes lead cables entirely. Instead, it has a Bluetooth receiver to control the device from a smartphone.
For decades, physical therapy and pain clinics have used TENS therapy for chronic pain patients. It works by flooding the nervous system with electrical currents to stimulate the natural mechanisms against pain. The first function of TENS is pain gating. At high frequencies, TENS overrides the pain signals from reaching the brain by closing the nerve pathways in the spinal cord. As a result, the brain receives and processes fewer pain messages.
TENS therapy also aids the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals. Endorphins are neurotransmitters inhibiting nerve cells from sending pain signals to the brain. In addition, they promote pleasure and improve mood. Therefore, the body perceives lesser pain. Furthermore, TENS boost blood circulation, which helps in healing. A wireless TENS unit can achieve these results through an app's preset or manual function.
Conditions TENS Can Treat
- Neuropathic pain - sciatica, fibromyalgia, shingles, peripheral neuropathy
- Musculoskeletal pain - osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, tendinitis, bursitis, lateral epicondylitis, and other joint disorders
- Acute pain - fractures or broken bones, sprains, strains, muscle soreness, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, labor pain, post-surgical pain
- Structural pain - herniated or slipped disc, spinal stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis
Advantages of a Wireless TENS Unit
A wireless TENS unit primarily offers portability, ease of use, and efficiency. They maximize portability by removing wire connections. Thus, they are more compact and lightweight than their traditional counterparts. Individuals can carry them around and use them whenever necessary. Additionally, it does not require additional setups before starting the therapy. A device like the iTENS is easy to use with few easy steps. Place the electrodes, turn on the machine, and choose a program.
One of the prominent features of wireless devices is convenient TENS pad placement. The electrodes are slim and flexible and fit in most body areas. Therefore, it is versatile pain management. It allows easy electrode placement without restricting the range of motion. For example, placing the electrode pads on tricky or hard-to-reach areas like the back and joints is easy. Hence, it is non-invasive and requires minimal assistance from another person.
The ready-to-use system of wireless TENS units makes them more efficient. Users do not have to spend more time connecting the wires before use. Furthermore, it utilizes digital technology for more comprehensive pain management. The device pairs with a smartphone app to access multiple programs or pain modes. Therefore, users can manage pain relief according to how their body reacts to the stimulation. TENS machines are customizable to help address individual needs.
- Each person reacts differently to TENS treatment.
- Pain relief may last for several minutes to hours.
- It is safe to use TENS as often as needed. For continual usage, give a twenty-minute break between sessions.
- Users may adjust the intensity up to a maximum tolerance level.
How to Use a Wireless TENS Unit
Operating a wireless TENS unit is faster and easier than using standard devices. The electrodes have an adhesive side that sticks firmly to the skin. To commence treatment, peel off the protective cover of the electrode pads and place them around the pain area. It is vital to position the TENS pads on strategic trigger points to achieve optimal stimulation. Afterwards, press the power button, and the device will activate immediately.
Set the intensity to a low level at the beginning of the therapy to avoid sudden shocks or discomfort. Then, gradually increase the settings until reaching a strong stimulation level that relieves pain the most. Moreover, you may choose from the preset modes of the device according to pain in different areas or health conditions. The preset modes have fixed parameters for safe and effective use. It includes settings for chronic pain and general body aches.
You may use a wireless TENS unit like the iTENS alone or through a smartphone. Using the TENS machine through a smartphone enables more efficient pain management. You may connect the iTENS to iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth to select a therapy from the menu or customize the treatment. The manual mode lets users adjust the pulse rate, pulse duration, intensity, and timer, according to what works best for them.
- Do not turn the intensity too high that it causes contractions or further pain.
- Avoid placing the electrodes directly over joints and the spinal cord.
- Do not place the electrodes anywhere in the head, throat, or chest.
- Check with your healthcare provider if you have heart disease, epilepsy, cancer, or are pregnant.
A wireless TENS unit is a safe and effective device for pain relief. It is a portable wearable machine that an individual can use anytime. The device consists of Bluetooth-enabled electrodes for easy use and convenient pad placement. Therefore, it is more efficient than traditional devices or other types of pain management methods. Moreover, it works by stimulating the nerve fibers to block pain signals and release endorphins. Thus, it helps relieve pain naturally.
Portable or home TENS devices include preset modes to let individuals manage pain conveniently. The built-in programs have fixed parameters for safe and effective application. Alternatively, trying different settings can help find the most optimal results. Users can customize their therapy manually from the smartphone app. Lastly, TENS machines are available without a prescription. People with acute or chronic pain can easily get a TENS device for personal use.