All About TENS Unit Electrodes

All About TENS Unit ElectrodesIn today’s market for alternative medicine, some problems stand out more than others, but TENS electrodes( can help with the pain caused by them all. While severe depression or lung cancer may not be treatable by alternative medical techniques, chronic problems such as back pain and knee pain are among the conditions that these methods may be useful for treating. One such technique is the use of the TENS device for treatment of pain in the body. It’s especially effective for back pain and those aches that resist other forms of treatment.

A TENS machine is a fairly simple device. TENS stands for “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation,” and it does exactly what it promises: it sends an electrical current behind the cutaneous layer of the skin directly towards a nerve. A small device operated by a battery, the TENS machine is oftentimes hooked up to a specialized belt that’s in turn wired into two specialty electrodes. These electrodes move the current out of the TENS unit and guide it towards the user’s skin, generally a position where the user is feeling a great deal of pain.

Invented in the 1960s, the principle of TENS unit electrodes is based in the Gate Control Theory of pain. This theory holds that stimulating the nerves of the human body closes a “gate” inside the human spinal cord. When that gate is closed, the sensation of pain is, in theory, severely lessened, if not eliminated entirely. The scientific research behind these devices is somewhat inconclusive, but the fact is that millions of people across the world have begun feeling less pain after the proper application of one of these devices. For people with back pain who can’t find another method of relief, TENS unit electrodes may be a worthwhile means to achieve results.

When used properly and under the direction of a licensed doctor, these devices are generally safe to use, and people wishing to try one of them should discuss the matter with their physician before doing so. These devices aren’t for everyone; people with pacemakers and pregnant women are among those who are advised not to use a TENS machine. Following all directions for using these devices is highly recommended. The electrodes should not be left in place for long periods of time without occasionally cleaning the skin beneath the pads. Using one of these devices on damaged skin or in the shower or bathtub is a bad idea, as is combining them with heating pads or cold packs.

While there are certain hazards that can be prevented through careful use of a TENS device, the unit is particularly effective against back pain, though research into the matter is, again, somewhat uncertain. The device is placed on the skin over the afflicted region of the back where the pain is worse. Then the electrodes are placed on the skin and electrical impulses are sent to travel down the nerve fibers, creating a tingling sensation that many people swear by as a means of controlling chronic back pain.

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