You sit at the desk all day, slaving away on the computer and you’re sick to death of the back pain.
By the time you get home you don’t have the energy or desire to do anything. The thought of getting up early and going back tomorrow for more is so depressing. Sound familiar? Rest assured, you’re not the only one. It’s estimated that today over 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain. Most people think that they have no other option but to resort to pain killing medication. However, this is not the case…
Many people are now using TENS therapy as a method of alleviating their pain. The beauty of this alternative pain management technique is that it can be carried out in the comfort of your own home, or even discretely at work, on vacation, in the car (as a passenger), etc. TENS, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is essentially a technique that delivers very mild electrical shocks to the area of pain.
The therapy is carried out with a TENS unit, a small electrical device (usually battery powered). A series of wires attach to the device (this varies depending on the number of channels). The wires have electrodes (self-adhesive pads) on the end, these are placed on the user’s body, where the pain is. When the unit is switched it on and set, it sends low voltage electrical current through the wires and to the electrodes. This stimulates the nerves and relieves pain.
How do I know which is the best TENS unit for me?
Let’s assume that you’ve already spoken to your medical professional and have agreed that TENS therapy is the right way for you to manage your pain. (Do make sure that you speak to your medical professional first as there are a small few people that TENS is not suitable for.) Now you’ve got the go ahead you’re wondering which is going to be the best TENS unit for you. There are a lot of devices on the market that vary in price, features, portability, etc. It’s important to work out what matters to you so that you can get the most suitable unit on the market. A great tool for comparing TENS units can be found here: http://electricalstimulationtherapy.com/best-tens-unit There you’ll see a selection of top-rated TENS units – side-by-side – and the chart is interactive.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important considerations for choosing the best TENS unit:
• Power supply – nearly all TENS units are powered by battery. The main difference between devices tends to be the type of battery or whether the unit is rechargeable. Although rechargeable devices usually cost more to buy they can work out as a very good investment over time. Batteries can be expensive and there’s nothing worse than them running down and not being able to use the unit. If you can’t afford a rechargeable device consider purchasing a charger and some rechargeable batteries.
• Features/specification – the higher end TENS unit have more features (such as massage modes, extra channels, intensity levels, etc.) and some even have EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) capabilities. Work out exactly what you need from the unit and purchase something that fits your requirements. There is no point spending money on something with a ton of features that you will never use. If it’s your first TENS unit, why not go for something affordable and see how you get on? You can always upgrade further down the line.
• Portability – over the years TENS units (like most electronic technology) have become smaller. If being able to take the device to work in your bag is important, look for a small device – there a many available that are the size of a cell phone/iPod. You don’t want to be carrying a brick round in your bag!
• Cost to run – obviously once you’ve got the unit you can use it whenever you like at no extra cost. The only things you need to consider are batteries (if the device is not rechargeable) and the electrodes. Do some research here as some electrodes are higher quality and last a lot longer than others. If you buy a device that takes generic electrodes you will have a number of options.
• Warranty – this is going to be especially important if you go for one of the higher end devices. Have a look at what is offered. There’s no better peace of mind than a long manufacturer’s warranty.
• FDA cleared – the best TENS units should be cleared by the FDA but it’s good practice to check first and make sure the one you’re about to purchase is.
Hopefully this introduction will help you discover the best TENS unit. Once you’ve done the initial research and have a shortlist, read user reviews and look for the top-rated devices. You’ll discover an enormous amount just from reading existing users’ feedback.
Article DisclaimerAll content on this blog is provided as general information on topics including but not limited to, exercise, weight loss, dieting, health, wellness and other related subjects. The articles, and any linked materials are not provided as medical advice and they shouldn't be construed as being so. If for any reason the reader or other person has any medical concerns, he, she or they should consult with a appropriately-licensed physician or other health care provider. Never disregard getting professional medical advice and you should never delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any materials that have been linked to. If you think or have concerns that you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency contact number immediately. Views expressed on this blog and website definitely have no relation to those of any hospital, practice, academic or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.