A Closer Look at Pain Relief Using a Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulator (TENS) Unit



If you suffer from constant or intermittent pain or have been to the doctor on several occasions but received prescriptive temporary narcotic pain reliever, then it would be high time to try out TENS in managing your pain. The TENS unit works differently compared to other forms of pain remediation.
Here is a quick glance at some of the common types of pain:
Types of pain
There are three main types of pain which are: the episodic pain, pathophysiological pain, and acute pain. Episodic pain will usually recur periodically and has a huge effect on our daily routine. On the other hand, the pathophysiological pain comes with episodes which can sometimes prove difficult to relieve and is usually misunderstood. Additionally, the acute pain is unremitting and can extend for a very long time, often years. Taking steps towards effective management of pain is important since it’s estimated that over 50Million Americans suffer from some form of recurrent or persistent pain complication.
The cycle of pain
Our bodies are complex systems that are fused with electrical signals which travel through a complicated nervous system pathway. TENS are designed to interfere with the communication between the nervous system and the brain to relieve the cycle of pain. Usually, the area of pain sends signals to the spinal cord which is then transmitted to the brain. Once the brain picks up the signal, it sends a warning by evaluating the stimuli and lets us know that something is going wrong through pain signal.
When doctors undertake minor surgery, they will mostly numb the area, but when it comes to major operation, anesthesia is used. For example, the abdominal operation will require an incision and also anesthetize so that they wouldn’t be any pain. Also, this will stop the nerves around the pain area from sending signals to the brain.
Using the TENS equipment to relieve pain


First of all, the TENS equipment come with different adjustable settings that are used to control the level of stimulation by regulating the voltage. The electrodes are placed at various locations on the user’s body based on the physical pain location. The current flows via the electrodes and into the skin which then stimulates different nerve pathways producing a massaging or tingling sensation which remediates the perception of pain. There are two theories which explain how TENS can effectively decrease or relieve pain.
The first theory is the endorphin release theory which states that electrical impulses are responsible for the stimulation and production of enkephalins and endorphins. These are morphine-like substances which block pain message from reaching the brain. The other theory is the gate-control theory which suggests the presence of a neural mechanism along the spinal cord that acts as a gate which can either open up or shut down the flow of signals from the brain. In reality, the perception of pain on the user’s body will depend on whether the gate is partially closed, completely closed, or open.