TENS & Athlete Injuries: How to Use, Treatments and Benefits
By Med-Fit Content Team . Last Updated Saturday, 8th January 2022
A TENS Machine, short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, is a compact device powered by batteries that harnesses electrical currents to alleviate body and muscle discomfort.
By positioning electrodes on the targeted area, the unit generates controlled electrical pulses that traverse through the electrodes. These pulses induce a tingling sensation in the skin and muscles, effectively interfering with pain signals and providing relief.
Athlete’s Fitness and Injury:
Participating in sports is the mark of every athlete. Irrespective of one’s athletic prowess, it is natural that athletes get engrossed in a fast-paced game of tennis, football, or a long bike ride, there are bound to be affected by a few aches and pains some time or the other. Sports enthusiasts are not wary of pain but take it in their stride.
However, here’s a fact: The more you play fast-paced sports, the athletes are bound to face pains that keep mounting with every recurrence. It might start as an occasional twinge or ache, but then the pain continues in certain joints and muscles, at any point in time. It is essential for athletes to seek pain relief as quickly as possible.
Some resort to pain relief pills that provide some respite, but genuine athletes would mostly avoid them. They would instead prefer a more organic approach, without any potential health hazards. A body can cope with as much pain as it can before it gets worse. Other than treatments and medication, they can rely on Tens Units and muscle stimulators for better attention to their predicament.
How do Tens Machines work?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is one of the most commonly used forms of electrostimulation for pain relief. Numerous clinical reports indicate that finding the correct Tens Machine for ailments such as low back pain, arthritic pain, neurogenic pain, and the like. The method of pain reduction was initiated in 1965. The technique involves closing down the "gates" between the spinal cord and pain centers of the brain usually is closed, thereby inhibiting pain.
When pain occurs, the information is carried by C fibers up to the T cells, allowing pain transmission right into the cortex, which interprets the signals as pain. By closing the gate, one can prevent the transmission of nociceptive information to the cortex and thus avoid pain signals.
What you need is a TENS unit, a battery, and electrodes. They are programmable units, and the generators can stimulate the nerves with variable current strengths, and pulses. The preferred waveform helps avoid electrolytic effects of unidirectional current and drives the transcutaneous electrical stimulation modalities that aids in stemming the flow of pain.
Is Tens Safe to Use?
Medication is relied upon by some athletes, as they use an anti-inflammatory drug to help them cope with pain. They are taking consistent medication though is dangerous in the long term. Naproxen, for example, is a drug ingredient that can affect circulation and intestinal problems. Habit-Forming drugs are also a problem for athletes in the long run.
Tens unit, on the other hand, only takes the help of electrical stimulation to cause muscles to contract. By placing electrodes at the point of pain, a physical therapist can make use of appropriate muscle fibers to get the pain to fade away. They are rapidly contracting muscles aid in strengthening affected muscles. The physical therapist can change settings for transforming forceful or gentle contractions. Along with boosting muscle strength, the decrease also promotes blood supply to the pained area that needs healing.
What are Doctors’ views on the Usage of Tens Unit?
Doctors highly recommend the TENS therapy since electrotherapy has been used extensively for relieving patients from the source of pain relief. In fact, many medical professionals agree that electrical impulses from a TENS unit can release endorphins and encephalin naturally in the body, that even elevate your mood and decrease pain at the same time.
TENS is hence named as one of the most effective treatments for pain relief for athletes. This endorsement by doctors underscores the effectiveness and medicinal value that TENS units can offer to relieve pain.
Benefits of Tens Units:
- As time progresses, many athletes suffer from chronic pain. Tens Units and physical therapy can work as a reliable alternative to pain medication.
- Tens Units can provide immediate relief with help from electrical impulses. Primarily the unit subdues the pain signals from reaching the brain, thus relieving patients from the pain
- The Tens unit can be used anywhere on the body by just attaching silver electrodes to the pain-afflicted area.
- One can control pulse rates, pulse widths, and all the frequencies for providing relief to the patient.
- Alternatively, athletes can make use of muscle stimulators to treat chronic pain and speed muscle recovery after an injury. It prevents muscle atrophy too.
Physical Therapy with the Tens Units:
In addition to using the TENS unit at home, one can use the same in between physical therapy sessions, since it serves as an excellent supplement to the therapy. The TENS unit facilitates movements of the body by easing the pain and works to make your body move freely and easily.
A TENS unit alleviates pain, drives ease of movement and provides a better quality of life for professional athletes, mainly. Together, TENS becomes the superior choice for athletes, especially those who suffer from injuries on and off.