Nerve Stimulators Help Reduce Pain Without Chemical Means

Nerve stimulators have a long history of diagnostic and research uses, but recently they’ve been incorporated into pain control programs. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is an often used ways that doctors are turning to when the decision to use electroanalgesia is reached. While there are literally hundreds of clinical reports details using TENS on a wide range of conditions n number of the studies were not controlled and there’s a great deal of discussion about the benefits of TENS vs. the results of placebos. However, TENS is being used to reduce pain for various types of conditions, such as low back pain, myofascial and arthritic pain, sympathetically mediated pain, bladder incontinence, neurogenic pain, visceral pain, and post surgical pain.

In order to understand the role that nerve stimulators play in TENS, a bit of background biology is necessary. Nerves are the messengers of the body, carrying information from the brain to the muscles and back again. The outside of each nerve is positively charged, or polarized and when the top end of a nerve cell is stimulated, the nerve loses its charge and becomes depolarized. This wave of depolarization runs from the top of the nerve up in the brain all the way down to the end of the nerve in the muscle. When the nerve is depolarized, it releases a special chemical called Acetyl-choline into the tiny gap between the nerve and the muscle and causes the muscle to become depolarized as well.

What the stimulators do is depolarize the nerves by supplying electrons to the outside of the nerve. The nerves behave the same way whether they are depolarized by a signal from the brain or a signal from a stimulator and if the stimulus is the right strength it allows the muscle to contract and get the exercise necessary to keep the muscle elastic and flexible. If muscles lack the correct nerve input due to injury or medical issues TENS is a frequent choice for doctors that want to keep the patient’s muscles strong and active while they recover or to maintain current muscle strength.

There are handheld battery devices that produce current and deliver it through electrodes placed on the skin as well as nerve stimulators that can be implanted within the body. Whether used internally or externally, these devices seem to have brought a great deal of relief to a number of people.

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