TENS Units For Control Of Joint Pain

Any of y’all used/using 'em, and what did/do you think?



Never used one for joint pain, and can’t really imagine what it would do. TENS is most commonly for relieving muscular pain - my (admittedly vague) understanding of how they work is to generate “static” in the nervous system, which overrides whatever signals are telling muscles to contract and spasm.

I’ve got one, and it’s worked minor miracles on backaches. Just never tried it on a specific joint.

I used a TENS unit after abdominal surgery. I was amazed at how much it helped.

OK, I give up. What’s a TENS unit? Half as much as a TWENTIES unit, or two FIVES units?

TENS = Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
I have used one for some time to help reduce back pain, they effectively ‘scramble’ pain signals from the area being effected by the electric pulses, and also lead to release of endorphins in that area which are natural pain killers. I find it very useful when you have a muscle that gets very tight and sore to the touch. The TENS unit works on areas near the surface of the skin (even if you connect it to both sides of a joint the electric charge will travel through the subcutaneous blood and nerve tissues and won’t penetrate the joint, so it won’t relieve pain directly from the joint. But it will help those muscles that constrict up in the bodies natural attempt to immobilize a damaged joint. A good indication of whether it is likely to help is to apply gentle pressure to the skin areas around the joint, if any of these gentle pokes are painful then a TENS unit may help. You should not use a TENS unit near open wounds, or where the current is likely to transverse the heart, also I believe Epilepsy sufferers are advised to avoid using them. A physiotherapist, or bone doctor should be able to hire a unit out to you for a short while so that you can see if it will be of help to you.
Cheers, Bippy

I used one during physical therapy for my arthritic knee, and it really seemed to help. Can you get one for home use? There are some days when I really wish I had one, since the PT is done but the condition remains. Darned insurance.

You can get home units, they are the size of a cassette walkman, and cost arround $100. You need a doctors prescription to get one. Look up “tens unit” on Google for suppliers (remember the quotation marks, or you will get loads of Math sites). Mine runs on batteries or mains addaptor, and can have two sets of electode pads at a time at independant voltages. The sticky electrode pads can be expensive if not bought in bulk, but can be used about 5 times each (more if you revitalize them, by rubbing a little water and detergent into the sticky side and allowing them to dry off) before sweat and skin oils make them non-sticky.

Bippy, from reading your very informative post, it doesn’t sound like this is what I will need to help my “gouty arthritis” that I have been belly-aching about on SDMB lately, although the “gentle squeeze” test on my swollen middle finger does produce pain.

Additionally, I wanted to say that I went to a website which will query one’s insurance on one’s behalf to see if they’ll spring for a TENS unit. Here’s a link: http://paintechnology.com/

I doubt my piss-poor insurance will foot the bill for one, but I filled out the form anyway. What the hell, it was while I was at work, so I got paid for it! :smiley: