A TENS unit for workers compensation cervical or lumbar injured workers produces an electrical impulse that can be adjusted for pulse, frequency, and intensity. The exact mechanism by which it works to reduce or even eliminate pain is still unknown. It is possible there are several different ways TENS works. For example, TENS may inhibit (block) pain pathways or increase of the secretion of the pain reducing substances (endorphins, serotonin) in the CNS.
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 device are called transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation 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.
Recent research has also shown that autosuggestion or the placebo effect is a powerful way many people experience pain relief or improvement in symptoms. Simply by believing the treatment (any treatment, including TENS) will work has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. Many studies have shown that people get pain relief through the placebo effect alone.
One is shown how to use the TENS device by a healthcare provider trained in the set-up and use of this modality. Round or square rubber electrodes are applied to the skin over or around the painful area. Usually four electrodes (two pairs) are used to get maximum benefit from this treatment.
The electrodes are self-adhesive with a protective layer of gel built in to prevent skin irritation or burning. The unit is battery-operated with controls you manipulate yourself to alter the strength of the electrical signal. The unit can be slipped into a pocket or clipped to your belt. One may use two or four electrodes.
The electrodes will be placed on your body at positions selected by a physician or physical therapist. The electrode placement is determined based on the location of the involved nerves and/or the location of your pain. 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. Some injured workers like the TENS unit and others feel it is ineffective. Questions about TENS units should be directed to your health care providers. This article provides some basis information and what is legally necessary to get it paid for by workers compensation.