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Physical Therapy, Electromagnetic Field


What is TENS

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electric Neuro Stimulation. It means that nerve functions can be affected by electric impulses leading through the skin. The electric impulses stimulate sensory nerves which then activate natural pain relief mechanisms. TENS can also be applied to muscles to relax them. This type of electrotherapy is either applied in short bursts, in waves, or in a continuous stream of impulses. Various electrodes can be used according to the need (pads, buttons or pen-like). The electrodes are usually placed close to the appropriate nerve root, which is not necessarily at the place where you feel the pain.

How TENS helps

Depending on the frequency of the very short impulses (these are typical for TENS), TENS may exhibit various effects: analgesic, muscle-relaxing or indirectly improving tissue metabolism. This treatment is especially effective for conditions that require acute or chronic pain relief, particularly on the back or neck. TENS can be further used to decrease the tone of stiff and overloaded muscles as well as to treat painful trigger points.

More information about treatment including indications and contraindications

Electrotherapy is either performed by a physiotherapist or by a trained nurse. It usually lasts a few minutes (up to 20), only the direct current needs a rather long time to act – from 30 to 60 minutes. Electrotherapy may be combined with ultrasound and is most effective if taken in a series of applications. The frequency and length of applications must be prescribed by a physician as well as the precise current type, its application method, etc. Some currents are applied by means of plate electrodes placed in humid protective sheaths onto your skin and fastened with straps, while others are better used with suction-cup, pen-like or button electrodes. The vacuum effect produced by suction cups may alternate so a micro-massage of the underlying tissue improves the circulation and flow of oxygen into it.

Advisable for:

Musculoskeletal diseases, orthopaedic and accident rehabilitation, neurological diseases, vascular problems in limbs

Not advisable for:

Metallic implants – cardiostimulators, joint replacements, screws, etc. at the current pathway, infectious diseases, fever, acute inflammation, untreated or uncontrolled hypertension, epilepsy (neck to be avoided, elsewhere possible), acute thrombosis, phlebitis, leg ulcers and other skin defects, incontinence, pregnancy, unstable diabetes, psychosis, alcohol or drug abuse, severe cardiovascular disease, malignant tumours (at the site of application, elsewhere possible) and blood disorders


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