Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief.  The unit is a small, portable, battery-powered unit about the size of an ipod.  We have two different versions:  the 3000 and 7000.  The CMS TENS 3000 unit is analog while the CMS TENS 7000 has an lcd screen.   Two lead wires are connected to the top of the unit (wires that conduct electrical current) from the machine to your skin.  There are two electrodes (pads) per each lead wire.  The electrodes are often placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, creating a circuit of electrical impulses that travel along nerve fibers.

When the current is delivered, most people have little to no pain.  This occurs because the electricity from the electrodes stimulates the nerves in an affected area and sends signals to the brain that block normal pain signals.

You can set the CMS TENS machine for different wavelength frequencies;  A steady flow of electrical current or a rapid burst mode.  The unit is designed to be able to adjust the level of intensity depending on the amount of chronic pain you have.  Your physical therapist, acupuncturist, or doctor usually determines these settings.

After your doctor shows you how to use the unit and where to place the pads, you can use the CMS TENS unit at home.

What are TENS used for?

People use the CMS TENS unit to relieve pain for several different types of illnesses and conditions.  These units are for ongoing chronic pain, they are not used for acute pain or for healing.   They use it most often to treat muscle, joint, or bone problems that occur with illnesses such as osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia.  Also for conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, muscle pain, joint pain, sciatic pain, carpal tunnel pain, post surgery pain and arthritis.

Are TENS safe?

Experts consider TENS to be safe.  Have your physical therapist or doctor show you the proper way to use the machine, and follow these instructions carefully.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment.