Minnesota, USA March 29, 2011- There is no doubt that the U.S. relies heavily on medications to solve just about every health issue. Typically pills are the first option with other methods to follow. For those suffering with chronic pain like me, it causes a lot of frustration to know that doctors explore almost every medication before they realize that something else should be used in addition to medication. I explored the wonderful world of medicines, injections, physical therapy, and medical devices. Although there are times that I need a combination of these, my favorite option is a device known as a T.E.N.S. (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit, which works by sending electric pulses into areas of the body to block pain signals from reaching the brain.
For those who would rather get rid of medication altogether and are suffering from chronic but not severe pain, this could be the answer you've been waiting to hear. There is a catch though; a doctor must write a prescription in order to obtain the unit if you would like a quality machine that insurance will help cover. If you see a doctor regularly due to pain issues, it should be relatively easy to mention the T.E.N.S. in an appointment and ask questions. Your doctor may not realize that you want alternatives to medication. Based on your history, the doctor will either have you rent or buy one from a company. Obviously if you will be using it for long-term problems, buying is the best option. There are various companies such as Empi and LG Med Supply that supply hospitals and clinics with this device, so it may be in stock or would be ordered by the hospital for you.
I understand that it may be tempting to browse the internet and simply buy a T.E.N.S. without consulting a doctor. I am hesitant to trust medical products sold online as they could be defective or stored in conditions that could eventually cause harm to you. In addition, the accessories that you need to have with this unit will probably be expired since they are not sold by the actual company. Although it sounds strange that parts of an electronic device can expire, it is true that skin irritation or other issues may develop as the parts that touch the skin are not in the optimal condition. On top of all of this, a doctor or specialist should show you the proper way of using this and also determine if this device is right for you and your health.
For over 2 years now, I owned a T.E.N.S. unit by Empi and I could not be happier with it. As a T.E.N.S. unit user, there are a few important observations to mention that may either make or break your overall experience. Whether you will only use it for 30 minutes a day or the entire day, this is everything that you must know.
They come in a variety of lengths; however, they may get in the way no matter the length depending on where you need the pain relief and where you wear the main part of the device. When I first started using the T.E.N.S., I simply hung the controller on my pants, but later found out how frustrating it was throughout the day. Luckily there are accessories such as the unit carrier that you can wrap around your belly and just place it inside the pocket.
It may be uncomfortable for those who need to do bending as it is typically stiff. Normally it is made with a thick material, so you may experience some sweating. The way that the T.E.N.S. is carried on your stomach, it may attract unwanted attention as people will be confused by it (especially if you are part of the 'younger' crowd who do not usually have this).
The intensity of the T.E.N.S. will vary depending on the settings, yet that does not change how it feels in general. Some people cannot get past the feeling of 'shocks'. For some it is even worse feeling than the actual pain. I find comfort in the sensation because it is obvious that I'm not feeling all the pain that I could be. It may be a good idea to ask if you could just try the unit prior to committing yourself to renting or buying it.
It is important to understand that it is dangerous to use this while sleeping. Anything is possible when you can roll over on to the main control. Do not put yourself in the situation where you could actually turn up the intensity to the point where it hurts severely.