Understanding Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy

Understanding Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy

Oct 01, 2020

Electrical nerve stimulation, also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a treatment procedure that utilizes low voltage electrical currents to relieve pain. The TENS unit consists of a battery-powered device that delivers electrical impulses through your skin to stimulate your nerves for pain relief.

What Types of Pain Does the Electrical Nerve Stimulation Manage?

TENS therapy helps in treating several types of pain. Although the procedure does not provide 100% pain relief, it can help reduce chronic and acute pain. Some of the types of pain the procedure help in managing include nerve pain that is difficult to treat, joint deterioration due to arthritis, and tissue injury.

Other conditions that electrical nerve stimulation helps to treat include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inflammation and irritation of the tendons
  • Bursal cavity inflammation (bursitis)
  • Lower back pain
  • Labor pain
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Chronic pain on the pelvic bone

How Tens Therapy Works

During the procedure, your chiropractor uses a small battery-powered device to deliver electrical impulses to your nerves via electrodes placed on your skin. The chiropractor places the electrodes on your skin near the site of pain.

The frequency of electrical impulses from the TENS unit ranges from 10 to 50 Hz. Your chiropractor tunes the frequencies depending on how severe your pain is. Therefore, you should explain to your chiropractor in detail about the severity of your pain to help the specialist develop the best treatment plan for you.

Electricity from the electrodes on your skin sends impulses to your nerves. Your nerves will then send impulses to your brain and alters the normal perception of pain. Also, the electric nerve stimulation technique raises the level of endorphins (a natural pain killer) in your body. Therefore, the endorphins will block the perception of pain in your body.

TENS is only a short-term remedy for pain and is not effective for chronic lower back pain. However, it can help in some chronic conditions such as diabetic neuropathy. Most electrical nerve stimulations take 10 to 15 minutes and can be administered as often depending on your preferences.


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can lead to instant or prolonged pain relief. When the electrical impulses stimulate the release of endorphins throughout the body, they block the perception of pain, thus leads to instant pain relief.

For permanent or prolonged pain relief, our chiropractor at Premier Chiropractic& Wellness will recommend more therapy sessions. However, the effectiveness of the procedure varies depending on your condition, and the intensity of the treatment.

Benefits of Electrical Nerve Stimulation

Receiving electrical nerve stimulation at a chiropractic clinic in Manhattan poses several benefits. The procedure can improve your health in the following ways:

  • Reduces muscle pains
  • Enhances body strength
  • Stimulates muscular blood flow
  • Helps in improving psychological recovery

Are There Any Side Effects of Electrical Nerve Stimulation?

TENS therapy is a safe form of treatment and can pose some side effects such as irritation due to intense electrical currents. However, the cases of side effects are rare.

Also, some people are not eligible for electrical nerve stimulation therapy due to some factors.

Who Is Not Eligible for Electric Nerve Stimulation Therapy?

Below are some of the factors that rule you out from getting TENS treatments:

  • You have an implanted device: if you have implanted devices such as a defibrillator, bone growth stimulator, neurostimulator, or indwelling blood pressure monitors, it is not advisable to get a TENS therapy. The electric currents can damage the implanted device. Therefore, notify your chiropractor before the procedure.
  • Pregnancy: in case you are pregnant and require pain relief treatments, an electric nerve stimulation therapy wouldn’t be the best option for you. During pregnancy, it is advisable not to apply TENS to the abdomen, pelvic bone, and lower back. However, doctors can use TENS to control labor pains.
  • Cancer: if you have been diagnosed with cancer or has a history of cancer in the last five year, you might not be eligible for electrical stimulation therapy.
  • Epilepsy: when you have epilepsy, applying electrode pads on your head, shoulders, or neck can cause seizures.

If you have deep vein thrombosis, applying an electric nerve stimulation therapy can cause dislodging of a blood clot. Also, if you have a cardiac condition, applying electrode pads on your chest can lead to failure.

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