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What Are the Benefits of TENS Therapy?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 17, 2024
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Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS therapy, offers a number of benefits to patients. The pain relief experienced after a TENS treatment lasts for many months and can be quite effective against certain types of pain. It also does not have any of the side effects associated with medication, making it a better treatment for many patients than treatment with pain killers.

One of the benefits of TENS therapy is that one TENS procedure offers relief for an extended period of time. It is possible to experience pain relief for up to six months after each treatment. When the pain returns, the patient can receive another treatment and can expect the same results as with the first treatment. Patients also do not become accustomed to it, so there is no need to increase the intensity of the dose. It is safe to continue TENS treatments indefinitely.

There are relatively few side effects from TENS therapy. The one most commonly reported is mild discomfort at the site of the procedure. Some patients also report a reaction, such as mild itching or irritation, from the gels used during the procedure. It is possible to experience slight burns at the site of the procedure, though this is rare. All of these symptoms occur only at the site of the treatment.

Another of the benefits of TENS therapy is that it does not cause dependence. The treatment is safe to use for the patient’s lifetime, there being no chance that he or she will become addicted to TENS therapy. TENS also does not build up in the body as some medications do. For many patients who may take multiple medications, an additional benefit of TENS is that there is no need to remember to take an additional medication and no chance that TENS will interfere with other medication.

Treatment with TENS is quick but must be done in a medical clinic. The patient remains fully conscious and is given only a local anesthetic. Immediately following the treatment, the patient can leave the clinic and expect to experience relief from pain for a few months. After the treatment, the patient will not need to think about managing pain again until it is time for the next TENS treatment.

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Discussion Comments

By anon997368 — On Dec 27, 2016

I've had T.E,N.S treatments during physiotherapy and it has not relieved my pain for months, not even an hour! I have chronic back pain that was caused by traction from a physiotherapist. I would like to know what type of unit will relieve back pain for months.

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