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What is TENS?

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A TENS machine is small -- about the size of an iPad mini. It’s connected to a series of electrodes, which are put on your skin to deliver a low-voltage electrical charge. The electrical pulses stimulate nerve fibers in the area where you have pain and reduce the pain signals to your brain. The electrical charge may also cause your body to release natural hormones that decrease your pain levels.

You can get TENS treatments from a machine you use at home or from a device at your doctor's or physical therapist's office.

SOURCES:

Josimari M. Current Rheumatology Reports, December 2008.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Alternative Methods to Help Manage Pain After Orthopaedic Surgery.”

Medscape: "Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation."

Cipriano, G. Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, April 16, 2008.

Emmiler, M. The Heart Surgery Forum, 2008.

Benedetti, F. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, March 1997.

Chen, L. Anesthesia and Analgesia, November 1998.

Hamza, M. Anesthesiology, November 1999.

Rakel, B. Journal of Pain, October 2003.

Law, P. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, September 2004.

Cetin, N. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, June 2008.

Brousseau, L. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, April 2003.

Dubinsky, R. Neurology, January 2010.

Moreno-Duarte, I. Neuroimage, January 2014.

Singla, S. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, July-December 2011.

Tugay, N. Pain Medicine, June 2007.

Kaplan, B. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, March 1998.

Dailey, D. Pain, November 2013.

Dubinsky, R. Neurology, January 2010.

American Academy of Neurology: “Guideline: Widely Used Device for Pain Therapy Not Recommended for Chronic Low-Back Pain.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for chronic low back pain (CLBP).”

Sluka, K. Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, May 2013.

Jones, I. Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain, 2009.

Nursing Times: “Exploring the Evidence for Using TENS to Relieve Pain.”

NHS: "TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).”

Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler on October 16, 2019

SOURCES:

Josimari M. Current Rheumatology Reports, December 2008.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Alternative Methods to Help Manage Pain After Orthopaedic Surgery.”

Medscape: "Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation."

Cipriano, G. Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, April 16, 2008.

Emmiler, M. The Heart Surgery Forum, 2008.

Benedetti, F. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, March 1997.

Chen, L. Anesthesia and Analgesia, November 1998.

Hamza, M. Anesthesiology, November 1999.

Rakel, B. Journal of Pain, October 2003.

Law, P. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, September 2004.

Cetin, N. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, June 2008.

Brousseau, L. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, April 2003.

Dubinsky, R. Neurology, January 2010.

Moreno-Duarte, I. Neuroimage, January 2014.

Singla, S. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, July-December 2011.

Tugay, N. Pain Medicine, June 2007.

Kaplan, B. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, March 1998.

Dailey, D. Pain, November 2013.

Dubinsky, R. Neurology, January 2010.

American Academy of Neurology: “Guideline: Widely Used Device for Pain Therapy Not Recommended for Chronic Low-Back Pain.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for chronic low back pain (CLBP).”

Sluka, K. Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, May 2013.

Jones, I. Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain, 2009.

Nursing Times: “Exploring the Evidence for Using TENS to Relieve Pain.”

NHS: "TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).”

Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler on October 16, 2019

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