For many, living with acute and chronic pain is an everyday battle. Most people suffering from these types of pain have only been given the choice of drugs to free them from their affliction.
However, there is hope. TENS, an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a drug-free alternative. It works by sending low-voltage, electrical pulses to the surface of the skin to combat pain. These pulses are transmitted to the underlying nerves. The strength and duration of the pulses are adjusted to suit the individual's needs.
Current TENS technology is based on the research of physicians, Ronald Melzack and Patrick D. Walls in a study titled: "Pain Mechanism: A New Theory."
The use of this technology is broadly applied in many areas that include: sports medicine, chiropractic care, and rehabilitation centers. Senior living communities utilize the therapy and it can also be used at home.
How Do TENS Units Work?
Electrical impulses are transmitted from an electrical device to the surface of the skin. The unit is connected to the surface of the skin with electrode pads. Units range in size and amount of power output. Some are small and battery powered, while others are hand held, or even desk-top size. Wearable models are also available.
Banner Therapy Products (www.BannerTherapy.com), a provider of over 5,000 professional and alternative therapy products, offers a hand-held unit, the two-channel TENS unit. These dual-channel units have modulation, burst and standard modes. Features include: variable pulse-width (40-260), variable pulse-rate (2-150) and a treatment timer (30 minutes, 60 minutes, and constant). This unit comes complete with a 9-volt battery, lead wires, initial supply of electrodes, and a carrying case. A treatment timer is also available on some units.
Tom Maroney, CEO of Banner Therapy Products, explains, "the 50-003 Option 'X' is our special-priced version of this TENS unit. view window. We can only sell this item to medical professionals or patients with a prescription. "
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.
Prior to use, gels are available to eliminate the need for the electrode to be taped. These gels enhance the conductivity from the electrode to the skin. Tensive gel is recommended by suppliers of TENS units.
Maroney adds that most anyone is now able to purchase a variety of these types of devices. All that is needed is a prescription.
"We offer wholesale discounts to not only medical professionals, but also to individuals who are seeking this type of drug-free therapy for problems such as back and neck pain and an array of other pain management and rehabilitation needs."
Units typically range from $ 100 and go up into the thousands.
"Our units start at approximately $ 32.50 for a hand-held unit."
Why Does TENS Work?
There are two theories that explain why this technology works as an alternate therapy for acute and chronic pain. The first is the Gateway Theory. Its promise is that the electrical stimulation blocks pain that is transmitted through nerve endings.
The second theory is the Endorphin-release Theory. These electrical currents trigger the body to produce endorphins which help the body's nerve system to combat pain. This type of therapy produces, and provides, thousands of individuals with relief from back and neck pain, and recovery from surgery and injury, without the need for prescription drugs.
"TENS units are an affordable alternative for those suffering pain," Maroney explained. "No matter which theory you or your medical professional believes in, this technology is becoming more mainstream in the US; it has developed a reputation as an effective alternative therapy."