Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

TENS is a form of electrotherapy that physiotherapists can use to alleviate pain. TENS is thought to produce pain relief via a mechanism called the "pain gate". Electrical stimulation from the TENS machine stimulates nerve fibres in the tissues which convey impulses to the spinal cord and brain. The nerve impulses created by the TENS machine are thought to override the painful nerve impulses which are created by your injury. This is described as closing the "pain gate" because it stops the painful nerve impulses passing along the spinal cord to your brain and consequently stops you from feeling the pain.

TENS is often very effective in conditions that cause high levels of continuous pain which cannot be readily treated with other techniques.

It is important to consult a physiotherapist before using TENS as they will be able to complete a thorough assessment of your injury which will determine whether it is an appropriate treatment method. If the physiotherapist feels it is appropriate, they will then need to find the correct setting on the TENS unit for you to use at home.

Can TENS help with my trapped nerve symptoms?

Yes, compressed nerves can be very painful and TENS can be an effective part of a physiotherapy treatment program. TENS will often be used in the early stages of treatment to reduce your pain levels. This will allow the physiotherapist to complete further of treatment such as joint mobilisations or soft tissue release techniques which can help resolve the underlying cause of the nerve entrapment.

Can TENS help with my frozen shoulder?

Yes, a frozen shoulder can be very painful and TENS can help to manage the pain and is particularly useful if you have difficulty taking medication.

Can TENS be used to help my low back pain?

Yes. TENS can particularly effective if you have an acute exacerbation or "flare up" of back pain. In the initial few days after aggravating your back TENS can play an important role in reducing your pain and enabling you to get moving again. TENS wont treat the underlying cause of your back problem so it is important use TENS as part of a treatment program which can be provided by a chartered physiotherapist.

If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.