Do you or someone you know suffer from chronic pain. If so you have probably tried several different medications over the years. You at one time or another have most probably taken nsaids, pain meds or muscle relaxers. Some people take all three types of drugs at the same time. When these no longer offer pain relief or the side effects of these drugs outweigh the pain relief benefits usually more invasive procedures are recommended, such as epidural steroid injections or even surgery to help alleviate the pain. These procedures offer side effects of their own and should not be considered lightly.

 For my patients who either don’t want to or can’t take a lot of pain medicine or who have been taking it for years and it is no longer effective, I recommend trying a TENS unit for pain control. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units have been around for years and offer a lot of people non-invasive, non narcotic pain relief with no side effects. TENS therapy works on the Phasic inhibitory system or Gate Control Theory. In a nutshell this states that stimulating certain neurons of the cord will inhibit the persons perception of pain. The TENS unit stimulates these neurons by introducing a comfortable , low intensity tingling sensation over the pain area thereby offering pain relief.

TENS is used by people to treat a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions, including low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, neck pain, knee pain, period pain, neuropathic pain (pain caused by nerve or spinal cord damage, such as phantom limb pain and multiple sclerosis pain), cancer pain and the pain of childbirth. The electrodes must be placed near to the source of the pain, for example for back pain they should be placed around the center of the painful area.

Studies have showed that TENS alone was effective as Tylenol with Codeine in controlling pain post trauma. It was suggested that TENS was the preferred method of pain control in order to avoid the sedative effects of narcotics. Studies also showed that when using TENS for six months, 51% of patients significantly reduced their medication intake.

-The amount of opiates taken were reduced by 51%

-The amount of NSAID’s were reduced by 29%

-As a group, steroids, sedatives and relaxants were reduced by 45%

- In addition, TENS decreases the cumulative dose of pain medications and subsequently their side effects of medication including constipation, nausea, confusion and serious gastrointestinal, hepatic or renal complications.

If you or someone you know suffer from chronic pain and have questions regarding a TENS unit please call Alexandria Chiropractic Center at 859-635-6666 and ask to speak with Dr. Crowley. Quite often a TENS unit is covered by your insurance and our office will be happy to check for you before a unit is prescribed.
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