The UK’s leading children’s hospital has published an extensive online guide to help explain Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) to parents.
On its website, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), explains the benefits of using a TENS machine, which is widely used to manage pain associated with a wide range of conditions.
It explains that TENS is a safe, easy to use, drug free method of managing pain that uses a very low level electrical current applied to areas of the body using soft gel pads that stick to the skin.
However, the hospital recommends that children should only use a TENS machine on the advice of their doctor and not at all if they have a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), suffer from epilepsy or if the source of pain is over the site of any previous surgery where internal metalwork, such as screws, wires, implants or metal plates have been inserted.
Also, TENS electrodes should not be placed on areas of the body with poor sensation.
It goes on to say that many children and young people using a TENS machine report that it has helped to relieve their pain. However, this varies from person to person.
Generally, it takes a couple of hours of using TENS for the first time before the effect is felt and it advises parents to continue giving children their regular pain medicines while using the TENS machine.
Over time, if the TENS machine is helpful, the child may not need pain relief as frequently as before.
The full guide from GOSH, which also includes an explanation of how TENS works, advice on placing the TENS electrodes and how to set up the TENS machine, can be found <a href="http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information-0/procedures-and-treatments/transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation-tens-children">www.gosh.nhs.uk</a>
In adults, TENS machines have been used to help manage pain by people suffering from arthritis, back pain, neuralgia, period pain, sports injuries and sciatica and many other conditions.