Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulator (TENS)
TENS is the acronym for “Transcutaneous Electrical Neural (or Nerve) Stimulation”. The small electrical currents of TENS are adjusted to send stimulating pulses over the surface of the skin and into nerve endings. Those pulses help to decrease pain by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. They also help stimulate production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Common uses for TENS: back and neck syndromes, RSD (or “complex regional pain syndrome”), arthritis, shoulder syndromes, neuropathies, and other acute and chronic pain.
Developed in the late 1960′s, this type of stimulator is characterized by biphasic current. (“Biphasic” refers to two phases, or pulses of 2 different intensities alternating with each other – not to be confused with “alternating current” or bi-directional current flow.) Most stimulators feature adjustable settings to control amplitude (intensity) of stimulation by controlling voltage, current, and pulse width (duration) of each pulse. Electrodes are placed at specific sites on the body for treatment of pain. TENS stimulates sensory nerves to block pain signals, stimulate endorphin production to help normalize sympathetic function.
Common uses: Acute and chronic pain, back and cervical muscular and disc syndromes, RSD, arthritis, shoulder syndromes, neuropathies, and many other painful conditions.