Electrical Nerve Stimulation

Electrical Nerve StimulationWhat is TENS is a valid question for those dealing with chronic pain. Apart from nerve blocks, there are other ways to address the signals between extremities affected by chronic pain and the brain. TENS or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a type of electroanalgesia. Electroanalgesia is a form of pain relief that uses electricity to ease pain. Electrical devices can be inserted into the body or applied externally, at the site of pain (local) or delocalized throughout the whole body. TENS and other forms of electroanalgesia work by interfering with the pain signals generated by the body, inhibiting them from reaching the brain and inducing a response. There are three main types of electroanalgesic therapies.


Electro-acupuncture is an electrotherapy that uses acupuncture needles to transmit electrical currents to the areas affected by chronic pain from RSD. After the acupuncture needles are applied to the body, electrodes are attached to the needles that provide the electric stimulation. Sessions of this type of electro-therapy normally last 10 to 20 minutes, but they may last for about an hour for difficult neurological disorders, indicates the Institute of Traditional Medicine.

Interferential Current Therapy (IFC)

Interferential current therapy (IFC) is a form of electrotherapy used for pain relief, soft-tissue healing and the reduction of swelling and inflammation. Low-frequency electrical impulses are sent into the affected tissue with electrodes, encouraging the release of endorphins. The currents further relieve pain by inhibiting the nervous system, resulting in muscle relaxation, based on information from BlueCross BlueShield.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation is currently is one of the most commonly used forms of electroanalgesia. It is a form of electrotherapy that relieves pain through the transmission of low-voltage electrical impulses, according to the American Cancer Society. TENS has been documented as a potential course of treatment for various types of conditions, such as lower back pain, myofascial and arthritic pain, sympathetically mediated pain, bladder incontinence, neurogenic pain, visceral pain, and postsurgical pain. Though health care providers usually provide TENS treatments, there are commercially available portable TENS devices that can be used at home. While it may work well as a short-term relief from pain, TENS hasn’t proven effective for the long-term relief of chronic pain.

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