(Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

TENS is a drug free non-invasive means to reduce pain.
A small battery operated TENS unit can pass a weak electric pulse via electrodes through the skin to affect the nerve fibres that lie beneath.

The type of nerves stimulated can be altered by changing the intensity, frequency and duration of the electrical pulse.

When used with the settings on low intensity and high frequency, TENS can stimulate sensory nerves, which can block or over ride the danger messages at the spinal cord and can reduce acute and chronic pain via the Gate mechanism.

TENS can also stimulate the brain to release endogenous opioids (endorphins and enkephalins) when it is used with settings of high intensity and low frequency. This also helps to reduce pain via descending modulation.

Different modes can be selected to mix the stimulation to ensure the nerves do not get used to the stimulation and ‘accommodate’.

TENS is simple and safe to apply. However, care needs to be taken to ensure the skin is clean and unbroken and that the sensation where the electrodes are to be placed is normal.
TENS should not be used to mask pain of unknown origin.

TENS cannot be used :
- if you have a pacemaker
- over the eyes, the carotid sinus or a pregnant abdomen
- over the heart if there is myocardial disease
- over the head or neck in epileptics or if there has been a TIA or CVA