Are you looking for a pain relief solution? Then maybe you should consider Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). The American Physical Therapy Association defines TENS as the application of electrical current through the skin for pain control. Electrical current to facilitate pain relief is not new. In fact, we can go back to 63 AD in Greece and find that pain was relieved by standing on electric fish.

TENS is drug free and non-invasive.    Electrodes are placed on the skin and electric impulses are sent from a battery through the electrodes stimulating nerve fibers. The stimulation of the nerve fibers can block the pain. The body sensing the stimulation releases endorphins (natural feel good chemicals) which also masks the pain.

TENS is used for treating: low back pain, arthritic pain, childbirth pain, postoperative pain, migraines, and tendonitis. It is also being looked into treating Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, Carpal tunnel, Autism and many other chronic conditions. Scientific studies are not conclusive on if this really works but there is a growing population of people who have had success and gotten some pain relief.

In the United Kingdom it is often used in childbirth to help the mother cope with contraction pain. Many women report TENS helped them last longer before resorting to other methods of pain management.

We have tested the Medisana Back Pain Relief System which uses TENS technology with mixed results. When you first turn on the system it feels like ants crawling on your skin, once you get used to this it is not so distracting. You wear the device for 30 minutes (it shuts itself off) and you can control the level of stimulation you are receiving. We had mixed results, some felt better after 30 minutes others no noticeable relief. Where you place the electrodes is important and that you are using an appropriate electric level. The system we tested was around $40 and was designed for in home use.

TENS is for pain reduction it does not cure the underlying cause of your pain. Do not use if you have a pacemaker. Skin reactions where the electrodes stick on may occur.