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How Often Should TENS Machines be used?

How Often Should TENS Machines be used?

It is often said that too much of a good thing can have a negative outcome. Many people want to know if this applies to TENS machines. Electrotherapy is an age old concept that has been around for ages. However, it has become accessible to common people only in the recent years. There was a time when these machines were manufactured strictly for application in the professional settings. Now, we have numerous portable options designed for home use. So how often should TENS Machines be used? And can frequent usage lead to addiction?

 

What Does TENS Unit do?

A TENS Units is small device used for pain management that involves the use of a mild electrical current.

A slew of questions have also emerged along with the increasing popularity of electrotherapy. One of the most common questions relates to the frequency of using a TENS unit.

This question is closely related to both efficiency issues and safety issues of TENS units. The frequency of usage also gives rise to other questions such as whether more frequent use makes TENS therapy more effective, do more sessions mean more risk, and what is the recommended duration of use.

Limitations of TENS:

Most of the pain relief options require multiple rules to be followed.  For example, most of us are aware of the fact that ibuprofen should never be taken on an empty stomach. Also, there is a specific safe dosage for every over the counter or prescription pain killer. One great thing about TENS is that it is a non-invasive and safe alternative to these pain killers. It is not addictive in any way because nothing enters the body. Therefore, from the addiction perspective, one can use it as much as he or she wants without any limits.

How Often Can TENS be used?

As TENS machines are non-invasive in nature, there is no risk of overdosing. This means that a TENS unit may be used as often as it is needed by an individual. These machines are designed to offer immediate relief from different types of pain. As long as the machines are used as instructed, it is safe to use it as often as you need. For certain patients, TENS therapy may be more effective with more frequent uses. 

Recommended Duration for Using TENS:

In general, experts suggest that TENS therapy sessions should last for approximately 30 minutes at a time.  However, there is no real danger involved in TENS sessions with longer durations.  However, be sure to provide a break to your skin from the electrodes pads after every 20 minutes. Potential skin irritation is one of the only serious risk factor associated with TENS.  This can be caused by leaving the pads in the same place for longer durations. If you experience any such irritation, discontinue using the machine immediately.

Conclusion

To sum up this discussion, it can be said that chronic pain sufferers may use TENS machines for about 20 to 30 minutes and repeat the process up to five times a day. On the other hand, acute pain patients are recommended using it for about 20 -60 minutes up to four times in a day.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4186747/

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