Injured workers may be prescribed a TENS unit to help with their neck pain. Neck (cervical spine) pain due to musculoskeletal disorders, is the second largest cause of time off work – low back pain being first. It is generally worse in the morning and evening. The most commonly prescribed intervention is rest and analgesics, and often a referral to physical therapy. Among the rehabilitation intervention treatments for neck pain is the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit.
Electrical nerve stimulation is a treatment for pain that is used primarily for chronic pain. The electrical stimulation is delivered through electrodes or patches placed on the skin. The technique and the device used is called transcutaneous electrical stimulation or TENS for short.
TENS is a noninvasive way to override or block signals from the nerves to the spinal cord and brain. Pain messages may be altered enough to provide temporary or even long-lasting pain relief. Besides controlling pain, this type of electrical stimulation can also improve local circulation and reduce or eliminate muscle spasm.
TENS can be used for relief of pain associated with a wide variety of painful conditions. This may include back pain caused by spine degeneration, disc problems, or failed back surgery. Nerve pain from many other conditions may also be managed with TENS.
Sometimes it is used post surgery as studies show that TENS can significantly reduce the use of analgesics (pain relievers, including narcotic drugs) after surgery.
TENS is usually used along with other forms of treatment and pain control such as analgesics, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, visualization or guided imagery, physical therapy and exercise, massage therapy, nerve block injections, and/or spinal manipulation.
The effectiveness of TENS remains controversial. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) findings published in Dec. 30, 2009 issue of Neurology claims it is not effective and cannot be recommended. But, many patients find TENS effective for pain relief, easy to use, and with very low side effects. It may be worth a try for those who suffer from chronic low back pain. It can be discontinued easily if it doesn’t work. TENS cannot correct an underlying problem; it is only used for temporary relief of symptoms.
TENS is a noninvasive way to override or block signals from the nerves to the spinal cord and brain. Pain messages may be altered enough to provide temporary pain relief. Besides controlling pain, this type of electrical stimulation can improve local circulation and reduce or eliminate muscle spasm. Source eorthopod.com.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has successfully represented injured workers in getting TENS units covered by workers compensation benefits. The doctor must opine the unit is necessary to treat the effects of the work-related injury.