What is a TENS Unit?

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TENS-Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

A TENS Units is a small electrical device that delivers electrical impulses across the skin. Transcutaneous (through the skin) electrical nerve stimulation sends an electrical current to specific nerves. The current may be delivered intermittently. The mild electrical current blocks pain signals to the brain and generates heat that serves to relieve stiffness, improve mobility, and relieve pain. The treatment is believed to stimulate the body’s production of endorphins or natural pain killers.

What are the main differences and similarities between TENS Units and EMS Devices?

When looking at the facts about TENS Units and EMS devices, it’s important to get a good understanding of how these two devices compare on a basic level. As the names would suggest, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units stimulate the nerves, while EMS devices stimulate the muscles. However, each are using electrical impulses to do so. The electrical impulses travel through the skin to the nerves and muscles via electrode pads. Electrodes act as conductors, so as a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit or EMS machine generates electrical impulses, they’re delivered via electrode pads through the skin. The pads are strategically placed on different areas of the body, wherever one needs relief.

What is a TENS Unit used for?

The purpose is to provide drug-free, non-invasive pain relief.

How does a TENS Unit help with pain?

By stimulating the nerves at the area of pain, two things happen. For one, the electrical currents are known to stimulate the release of endorphins. Endorphins (named after morphine) are the body’s natural painkiller. They’re also known to create a sort of euphoria, like morphine.

The other way is explained by something called the gate control theory. This theory says that non-painful sensations will close the “gate” to the painful ones. In other words, a non-painful signal to the brain cannot exist at the same time as a painful signal. The electrical current creates a pleasant, tingling, massage-like sensation on the area where applied, blocking the pain signals from the brain.

What is a TENS Unit used to treat?

Since transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units are used for pain relief, it’s useful in plenty of situations. They may also be used for acute pain, chronic pain, carpal tunnel, lower or upper back pain, joint pain or even arthritis. Smaller, portable units like the CMC EMS+TENS Unit can even be worn throughout the day to provide pain relief whenever it’s needed.

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