Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief.
TENS is a small, battery-powered machine about the size of a pocket radio. Usually, connected to two electrodes (wires that conduct electrical current) from the machine to your skin. The electrodes are often placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, creating a circuit of electrical impulses that travels along nerve fibers.
When the current is delivered, people experience less pain. This may be because the electricity from the electrodes stimulates the nerves in an affected area and sends signals to the brain that block or "scramble" normal pain signals.
TENS machine can be set to different wavelength frequencies, such as a steady flow of electrical current or a burst of electrical current, and for intensity of electrical current which is usually determined by the doctor.
What is TENS used for?
People use TENS to relieve pain for several different types of illnesses and conditions. They use it most often to treat muscle, joint, or bone problems that occur with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, or for conditions such as low back pain, neck pain, tendinitis, or bursitis. People have also used TENS to treat sudden (acute) pain, such as labor pain, and long-lasting (chronic) pain, such as cancer pain.