The answer to your back pain?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), is a treatment that uses low voltage electric current to relieve pain.

This marvellous medical device developed in the 60s could be an affordable and effective solution to helping you cope with chronic pain conditions, such as bad backs and sciatica.

TENS even helps women get through intense labour pain without the use of drugs, so it has to be good, right?

The truth is, no one really knows exactly how TENS works. Supposedly, it’s based on the ‘gate control theory’ of pain, where nerves are stimulated, closing a ‘gate’ mechanism in the spinal cord and effectively blocking the sensation of pain.

A TENS unit is a small, battery-operated device that fits in the hand and is connected to two electrodes that attach to wherever the pain is located. The electrodes carry a small electrical current from the machine to the site of the pain.

When the TENS machine is activated, electrical impulses travel through the electrodes along to nerve fibres, creating a tingling sensation.

One theory is that this nerve stimulation blocks pain signals. Another is that it may help the body produce its own natural painkillers, called endorphins.

While there are stories of successful pain management, research has failed to validate the use of TENS alone for the management of back pain.

I can say that I have seen firsthand how effective TENS can be in helping with labour pain management.

There are some promising results with TENS for pain management, but different people have experienced varying outcomes. However, if you think you’d like to give TENS a go, you should discuss this with your doctor or health professional.

A TENS machine can range in price from around $120 to $320.

For more information about TENS, please visit

Have you heard about TENS machines? Have you tried one? What was your experience?

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Common myths about chronic pain

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