Electric stimulation therapy, also known as transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), is a form of therapy used for relieving pain. During the therapy, a TENS unit transmits electric currents to small electrodes that are attached to the patient’s skin.
The electric pulses move through the nervous system, reducing the system’s ability to send pain signals. These are the signals transmitted to the brain from the spinal cord. The electric pulses also work to stimulate the nerves, releasing endorphins that help relieve pain.
One of the key benefits of TENS therapy is the portability of the unit. This means that the therapy can be performed at home or in the clinic. TENS therapy is not designed for every situation or type of pain.
Different factors will determine whether the therapy will be effective for pain relief. The factors include the severity of the pain, the age of the patient, neurological integrity, and the type of pain.
Electric stimulation is often used for the healing of bones. Normal healing from fractures is a step-by-step process that takes some time. Electric stimulation can be used to stimulate this process, ensuring a faster and more robust healing process.
Non-invasive therapy has proven to be very effective for accelerating bone healing. During the procedure, two electrodes are placed on the skin, one on each side of the broken bone. Low voltage current is passed between the electrodes, affecting the bone cells.
TENS therapy can be used to treat different types of pain. It is often used for treating chronic intractable pain, post-surgical pain, neuropathic pain, myofascial pain, and types of centralized pain. The treatment is often used on nerve pain in the neck, back, elbow, ankle, and wrist.
TENS can be used to reduce the pain associated with several health conditions. These include neck pain, labor pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, and post-surgical pain. It also helps with diabetic neuropathy, facial pain, menstrual pain, and pain from spinal cord injury.
Skin irritation or burning can occur due to prolonged use or improper placement of the electrodes. There are situations when TENS therapy should not be used. The unit should not be placed on the face, throat, head, chest, or genitals.
The device should not be used on broken skin. Pregnant women should not use the unit, as it is unclear how electrical stimulation can affect the baby. Using the TENS unit under the care of a therapist is advisable. People with any type of implanted devices such as pacemakers should never use the TENS unit.
Electric stimulation is ideal for patients who have fractures that may be difficult to heal or non-healing bones. These are patients who experience fractures that do not heal normally. Patients with open fractures, stress fractures, talus fractures, and scaphoid bone fractures are good candidates for electric stimulation.
Using the TENS device at home is usually considered safe, but it should only be used as directed by a therapist.
For more on electric stimulation therapy, visit Charleston Chiropractic Associates at our office in Charleston, South Carolina. You can call (843) 225-4357 today to schedule an appointment.