Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is one of the most common forms of electrotherapy for pain management. This noninvasive method for relieving pain uses a small device called a TENS unit that emits mild electrical pulses through a set of electrode pads that you stick to your skin. These low-voltage electrical pulses stimulate the nerves of the affected area and reduce pain signals from reaching your brain.
Since TENS is a natural form of pain relief, it is a good alternative for people who experience constant muscle pain and who don't want the side effects of taking pain medications, some of which can be addictive or cause adverse side effects.
For you to be able to maximize the benefits of your TENS unit, it is essential that you must have a good set of electrode pads. Having different shapes and sizes of electrode pads can help target specific areas of your body. Bigger electrode pads can be placed in your back area while smaller electrodes work great in the ankles, knees, or arms.
Before turning on your TENS device, make sure that you have correctly attached your electrode pads in the lead wires of your unit, and properly adhere the pads to the skin of the affected area. It is also important to place your electrode at least 2.5cm or 1 inch apart to widen the coverage of the electrical pulses.
Each TENS unit have their own settings that allow you to control the strength of the electrical impulses. Turn on your device and start from a low setting. You may feel tingling, tapping, buzzing, or muscle twitching. Gradually increase the setting until the sensation feels strong but comfortable. However, If the tingling sensation begins to feel uncomfortable or painful, reduce the settings slightly. You can use your TENS unit for at least 15 minutes depending on the severity of the pain and the advice of your physician. Once you're done, turn off your TENS unit and gently remove the electrode pads from your skin. After which, place the electrodes back onto the plastic liner that comes with it so it can last for a long time.
TENS is an excellent method for managing pain. Just make sure to follow the instructions given by your physician and the instructions on how to operate your TENS machine to achieve a pain-free life.