Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): TENS unit can be used by patient at home for relieving pain on a long term basis. It allows the user to adjust the intensity of the stimulation, select high frequency stimulation or low frequency stimulation. High frequency stimulation is called conventional which is tolerable for hours but results in pain relief for shorter period of time. Whereas, low frequency stimulation is called acupuncture- like which is uncomfortable and tolerable for 20 to 30 minutes but results in pain relief for longer period of time. TENS unit users can also use electrode placements by placing the electrodes over the painful area or over the nerve supplying the painful area or even on the opposite side of the body.
Athletic trainers and home-health professionals also appreciate the powerful capabilities that this compact unit delivers. Larger units are available for medical professionals; these units are portable.
Millions of people suffer from chronic pain conditions such as back pain, arthritis (joint pain), shingles and fibromyalgia. Various prescription drugs and treatments are used to fight chronic pain. Sometimes pain killers are too strong for people leading an active life. The warnings on pain killers for “do not drive” and “do not use heavy equipment” prevent many people from driving and working. An alternative method used by professional athletes and "people on the go" is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit. It is a portable, pocket sized device that works by sending electrical impulses to select parts of the body to block pain and increase the level of endorphins (natural pain killers produced by the brain). The position of the electrodes on the skin determine which nerve(s) is (are) stimulated. It can be worn all day or on an as needed basis. A TENS unit must be prescribed by a physician or physical therapist. The unit is usually connected to unbroken skin using two or more electrodes. The battery-operated TENS unit consists of a small transformer, a pulse generator, frequency and intensity controls and a number of electrodes.