Hey everybody it's Doctor Jo, and today I'm going to show you how to use a TENSunit for pain relief.
so let's get started.
So what does TENS stand for you might ask? it'stranscutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
well what does that mean?well basically transcutaneous means on the surface of the skin, and electricalnerve stimulation is making the nerve stimulated through some kind ofstimulation being electric stimulation or sometimes this vibration things likethat, but what this is different from like an EMS unit or electrical musclestimulation is this gets those surface nerves right on the skin.
so technicallywhen you're using this for pain relief your muscles shouldn't really becontracting.
now sometimes if you if you have just really thin skin or not a lotof meat on your bones, those muscles will contract a little bit, but the goal of aTENS unit is strictly for pain relief, it's not to contract those muscles sothat's what a little bit of the difference is.
and what I really likeabout a TENS unit for pain relief in general is if you don't like taking thepain medication or maybe you have allergies or bad reactions to painmedication, this is a good alternative.
when I've had both my surgeries shoulderand hip, and all the other surgeries I've had, but mainly those, I maybe one or twodays afterwards, I'll take some pain medication and then I'll just use a TENSunit and ice the rest of the time because it's enough for me to take awaythat pain, and for most people take that edge off just enough.
so I think is agreat alternative especially if you just don't do very well pain medication whicha lot of people don't.
so it has, with tens, a lot of different settings.
this unit particularly here, the folks at CUH sent me, and I really like this onenot only because it's small and compact but it has 16 different modes.
so that'sreally really cool and it's got a lot of power to it as well, but again like Imentioned before, it's not supposed to contract the muscles this is a tensunit where it kind of massages those muscles, it gets that current in therejust to calm things down.
and basically what I tell my patients not in technicalterms, so what does the tens unit exactly do to make the pain go away? so thiscurrent follows the same pain pathway back to your brain because the painreally comes from our brain it's not, you know, if my me is hurting the pain is notreally here it's sending signals to my brain and my brain saying yes that hurts.
so it's following that same pain pathway and kind of canceling it out throughvibration, so that's that's what it does.
that's the goal of it.
it does in a sensehave a healing component to it because that that vibration that that nerveimpulse, the electrical impulse, excuse me that goes in therekind of helps increase the circulation as well so if you've got some swellingyou've got some irritation, it will help with that, but its main goal is tokind of cancel out that pain feeling.
so you can do your stretches and exercisesto feel better.
so again I'm going to show you real quick here the CUH brandwhich is really cool.
I mean look how big it is, it fits into my palm right there.
you can put it in your pocket.
it's got two separate channels which I like andeach channel which this is, the the part that I like best about it has twoelectrodes on it, so it gives you the option of either just doing one channelwith two electrodes or two channels with four electrodes, and you can use them fordifferent purposes.
my main rule of thumb is if you have a big surface like theknee, you want to use the four electrodes.
and if you have something smaller likethe elbow or maybe even if you're just trying to get a specific area, then justuse the two electrodes or one channel.
so it's really important also peoplesometimes don't know this and sometimes it's not in the instructions, and incertain units but so one channel here where it's connected you can see theyneed to cross each other.
so if you're using four electrodes, it should be likethis and the pain spot should be basically in the middle.
so if I've gotthis channel, I'm going to put one here and then I'm going to put one on theopposite side down below, and then I'm going to put a make it a cross so theother channel then goes here (with some dog hair on it) and then it crosses overon the other side.
and so what that does is it makes the currents go this way soyou're getting it in that pain area.
if you do the same channel here and herethen it's just going to go this way and it's going to go this way, and somepeople might think that feels okay, but if the goal is to really get that spot,you want it to go this way and this way.
so the other big thing that people liketo ask is once you turn it on, it's got those 16 modes, and they're like wellwhich mode should I use, you know, there's 16 of them.
how do I know what's best forme? this is what I tell my patients.
you'll probably hear therapists tell youcompletely different things.
which ever one makes it feel better.
whicheverone you like the best.
I think everybody's personal preference is goingto be something different, which is fine.
you know they, some of them will havesettings that say this is for your knee, this is for your shoulder, this is foryour elbow, this particular one doesn't do that, it has just some different kindof massaging type sensations, and so in the end if it's increasing thecirculation and if it's following that same pain pathway to cancel it out,to me I don't think it really matters what setting you have.
I think thedifferent settings to me are your comfort level, so some people like theone that just goes up and down and up and down like that, and some people likethe one that kind of almost like somebody's just kind of beating on you alittle bit to get that vibration or specific massages to do that.
so it'sreally just what you think feels the best.
so as you can see it's got a lot ofgreat features so if you're interested in purchasing the CUH you can click onthe link up here.
so what I want to show you really quickly I'm gonna do what youprobably shouldn't do, and I'm gonna take it up strong enough where it actuallywill probably start making a muscle contract a little bit which is what youdon't really want.
now like a lot of times on the shoulder since it's asmaller area, and usually those muscles are a little bit more on the surface,maybe you don't have as much fat or adipose tissue on it, you might startgetting a little bit contractions, but you don't really want thatto happen because that's going to fatigue out that muscle and again thepurpose of the TENS is to make you feel better, they cancel out that pain solet's see if I can do this without my hair sticking up.
so I'm just going to start going and so you can see here we're, see how it jumpedlike that? I really don't want it that high it again might do a little bit insome places, and sometimes you can just fix that by changing the placement ofthe electrode a little bit.
so here it was getting that VMO just a little bitmore, so I'm just going to move that that pad just a little bit back .
and this ison, that it's not going to make a difference if you take them off and putthem on while it's still on, I would just turn it down back down to its lowestsetting.
but so now it's not really doing that contraction that's about it at thesame level now if I turn it up it will still, you can probably see a little bitwhere it's doing that and that's just not something I think it's really goodfor your muscle, you know if you're trying to get strengthening and makethat muscle contract that's what you want, but for the tens unit you reallydon't want that, so again on this one it's pretty cool because it has thedifferent settings and you know I would say when you get it just go through andsee how it feels.
you know again some people like the certain ones better thanthe others, and another thing that I really like about this unit is it comeswith some other electrodes as well so different sizes.
so these smallerelectrodes are usually better for smaller surface area.
so let's say I'vegot some lateral epicondylitis or something like that what I wouldprobably do is just use two electrodes or two placements, and use the smallerpads just because that's going to get a little bit more directly to the area andit's going to be, it's just really going to hit that spot versus having thoseelectrodes you know big and clunky all over the place.
so I think I got myselfall tied up.
there we go.
and so by having the smaller electrodes you can reallyjust get around the spot.
so let's say thatoutside elbow tennis elbow a little bit is really sore, then I can take these andjust place you know one right here and then the other one right here.
now withthis unit what I found is they're they're both on all the time, so if youdon't want one of them on, then you want to probably go ahead and just unplugthat side, and then you probably wouldn't have it plugged in anyways, but if you're justusing to just plug in that one, and then again you can pick which mode is bestfor you, and it might be different.
so if you like one on the knee, you might likea different one on a smaller area or something, so I could then just change itto whatever I wanted to and for some of these, is for like headaches orreflexology in the feet or in the ears and things like that, and so those arenot quite as intense and so you might want to start with those first and seehow they feel.
so I think it gives you a really good variety of things to try andso you can just do the one that works best for you, and what works best for youmight not work for somebody else, so the main things I would say is if you'regonna use it on your low back for low back pain which I think tens is greatfor, I would use the four electrodes and just kind of make a nice surface area ofyour back so you're just getting that whole general low back or mid to upperback.
and so the further away might not be quite as strong, but you're going toget more of an area.
if you're using the shoulder it kind of depends on where thepain is.
some people if it's like on the outside might just want to do two righthere but I like if your shoulder in general is hurting, do one back one frontkind of one up here at the neck, and then one a little bit lower on the arm sothen you kind of get that whole area as well.
you can even do it on if you've gotshin splints, you can do your anterior tibialis, if you've got you know calfstrain, calf cramping, and things like that.
you can use it on your calf,hamstrings, quad, we talked a little bit.
so you really can use it almost anywherethat you have some muscle soreness.
once you start getting into the front of theneck, or you know where those those arteries are and stuff, you want to beyou want to be a little careful with those.
you don't want to go right there,but as long as it's those big muscle groups, those should be fine, but youshould always talk with your doctor or physical therapist first because thereare some what we call contraindications for using these, and a lot of times aftersurgeries sometimes the TENS is usually fine, the neuromuscular is not alwaysfine.
specially if you have a fracture or something, so again even if you're usingthe tens I would clear it with your doctor of whatever injury you have or ifyou're going to physical therapy you know check with them and take your unitwith you.
I've had my patients say hey I bought this online it's awesome but Idon't know how to use it, and so then your therapist can use some of thesession just to show you how to use it, make sure you're using it properly, makesure you're feeling good while you're doing it, making sure that thoseelectrodes are in good placement to really get that pain relief that youneed.
so there you have it that's how you use a TENS unit for pain relief.
and ifyou're interested in purchasing the CUH make sure to click on the link up here,and don't forget to subscribe by clicking down here.
and remember, be safe(don't go too high), have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.