What is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)?

TENS is a technique that relieves pain by activating sensory nerves and altering pain perception. This is accomplished through the administration of low-frequency electrical currents to the skin in conjunction with electrodes.

Mechanism of Action:

TENS is able to achieve its effects through the following methods, which make up its mechanism of action:

  • The Gate Control Theory: According to this theory, TENS works by stimulating large-diameter sensory nerves, which in turn activates a system known as “gate control.” This mechanism slows the passage of pain impulses to the brain, which in turn reduces the sensation of pain.
  • Endorphin Release: The transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) stimulates the release of endogenous opioids, such as endorphins, which are effective in relieving pain.

Where is it most typically used?

TENS is typically utilized for the following purposes: the therapy of acute and chronic pain, specifically musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and postoperative pain.

  •  The discomfort of labour and delivery.
  •  Pain in the head and migraines.
  •  Fibromyalgia as well as other illnesses that cause persistent pain.

Studies supporting the effectiveness of TENS include:

  • A meta-analysis that was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (2014) found that individuals suffering from musculoskeletal pain who used TENS saw a significant reduction in the severity of their pain.
  • TENS was found to be beneficial in lowering pain and improving function in individuals with fibromyalgia, according to another study that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in the year 2020.

Note: Electrotherapy modalities, such as Interferential Therapy, NMES, TENS, and Ultrasound, play an important role in physiotherapy by alleviating pain, promoting tissue regeneration, and enhancing muscle function. These electrotherapy techniques continue to advance patient care and aid in recovery, based on a firm body of evidence. Please note that although these electrotherapy modalities have demonstrated efficacy, it is essential to consult a qualified healthcare professional or physiotherapist for individualized advice and treatment options.

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