Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is an electrical current produced by a range of devices and is mainly used to stimulate the nervous system to manage acute and chronic pain. The therapeutic current transmits through the skin and is used to block the nerves conveying the pain messages to the brain. When lower frequencies are used, the current stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins (natural pain killers) into the bloodstream. The feeling of the current is not as pleasant as IFC but in recent years, TENS has gained a reputation for a safe modality to manage chronic pain.
A typical TENS stimulation creates pins and needles like sensation and can last up to 30 minutes. For patients who suffer from chronic pain, a battery-operated TENS unit is a safe modality for home use.
Although the effects of TENS in promoting tissue healing are controversial, TENS is commonly known for a safe modality for managing pain related to: