As early as 4,500 years back, Egyptians were thought to have used electricity to relieve pain: they lay out on the afflicted areas of the body of fish, which delivered tiny surges. Today, discomfort therapists use tens machine therapy with pores and skin electrodes for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). The fathers of the TENS happen to be pain researchers Professor Ronald Melzack and Professor Patrick Wall. In the 1960s, they designed a new concept of pain perception, the so-named control cabinet theory. This states that a painful stimulus is on the way to the mind in the spinal cord is normally switched to a second nerve cell. Both nerve pathways descending from the brain and stimuli from the periphery can prevent this soreness transmission. Based on this theory, the researchers then designed the TENS technique, which triggers stimuli in the periphery.
Little effort and low risks
Many studies certify TENS efficacy. “However, most studies do not meet the necessary quality criteria,” says Professor Andreas Michalsen, Head of the Department of Natural Medicine at the Immanuel Medical center Berlin and Professor of Naturopathy at the Charité Berlin. “The scientific evidence for the procedure is therefore bad.” Nevertheless, every discomfort therapist knows the technique. Reasons for the widespread employ are the ease of use, the low cost and the fact that TENS is known as to be always a low-risk and low-side-effect method: with proper employ, aside from slight skin irritations, no destruction has been observed by TENS.
Application of TENS in numerous pain syndromes
“If a soreness decrease occurs, it is often average,” admits Michalsen with false expectations. “Nevertheless, it is worthwhile undertaking a treatment trial with TENS for therapy-resistant discomfort , as a dietary supplement to the rest of the therapy.”
As an accompanying measure, doctors utilize the way for sports injuries and various joint complaints, along with headaches , migraine episodes, tumor soreness, nerve pain in diabetes or shingles , as part of algodystrophy ( Sudeck ‘s disease ) and in phantom soreness after amputations. Whether TENS is the right procedure in individual instances, the patient should consult with the doctor.
A post-operative guideline recommends the procedure to lessen pain and the need for analgesics after specific procedures. By contrast, the authors of the guideline “low back pain” do not see any profit generally speaking low back pain.
When shouldn’t TENS happen?
Epilepsy , mental illness, pregnancy , pacemakers or an implanted defibrillator speak against a TENS – and also in people with acute swelling of joints or organs is usually to be foreseen by a TENS.
Theory of the method of actions of the TENS
Pores and skin electrodes transmit the existing pulses of the device to your body. The current irritates the nerves in the cells. These send electric indicators to the spinal-cord, where – according to the control cabinet theory of the inventors – the TENS result unfolds. The stimulation with huge frequencies (80 to 150 hertz) so interrupts the transmission transmission to the mind and so the perception of pain. Low TENS frequencies (two to four hertz) must have a different result: Relating to theory, they discharge chemical substances in the mind that dampen soreness perception.