E-Stim or TENS Units for Pain Relief
Electrical Muscle Stimulation machines are a very common part of our treatment plans here at OSR. As a part of our integrated health center, our medical staff decides the best plan of care in order to help manage your pain and get you to optimum health. Because of this, E-stim is a great modality for our patients to utilize.
E-Stim or, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), is a modality that many rehabilitation centers use for their patients to aid in pain relief. These machines release an electrical current that is sent through wires to the patches that are applied to the area as assigned by your physical therapist. The pulses are transmitted to the underlying nerves. The intensity, pulse rate, pulse width and wavelength of the current can be adjusted to meet specific needs of the patient. Generally, the four pads on the E-Stim machine will be applied to a box in the place where you are feeling pain. By doing this, the electronic currents speak to each other and meet for optimum pain relief in the trouble area. Generally the E-Stim machine is used for pain relief, or muscle re-education. Here at OSR in Kailua, we use it for both.
There are two separate theories in why an E-stim machine can help relieve your pain. The first is that the electric waves activate your brain and make it aware of the area that is in pain, in order to release natural painkillers like endorphins to aid in pain relief naturally. The other theory is that electrical muscle stimulation can aid in pain relief by blocking the nerves that send pain sensations to the brain. TENS units are the portable version of our E-Stim machines that we have here at OSR that can be prescribed to patients to take home with them. They are used for muscle re-education after surgeries or other instances when your muscle is having trouble contracting on it’s own. The electric impulses can help contract the muscle and get the brain back to being able to do it on its own.
The benefits of using E-stim or TENS units is that they can be used for chronic and acute pain within muscles, joints and nerves. It is portable and easy to use which make it accessible for almost all times when pain occurs. There are some contraindications when TENS units are not recommended for use. Some of most common contraindications are not using on patients with implanted pacemakers/surgical hardware, carotid artery region, eyes, patients with heart disease and areas over the face/head in which electrical current travels through the head. Pregnancy has not been established as a true contraindication, but at Oahu Spine and Rehab, our medical team will get clearance from the patient’s treating OB/GYN regarding the use of TENS.
At Oahu Spine and Rehab it’s very common that your treatment plan will involve electrical muscle stimulation in order to achieve the highest results possible. If you are interested in more information, speak with your primary care physician or your physical therapist to decide if E-Stim is a modality you would like to use to aid in your pain relief. To schedule your complimentary consultation contact us here or call us at 488-5555!