TENS Unit Use For Recovery and Pain Managment

Most people will experience some type of ache or pain during training. Whether that be with weights, running, etc, it just sometimes happens. There are many ways to treat these pains. There is the traditional R.I.C.E, or rest, ice, elevation, compression, elevation. There are also anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen but can have side effects. There are also natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, fish oil, etc.

There is one a little less referenced and written about modality that I like to use and that is employing the use of a TENS unit. This is a pretty simple recovery tool that is available to many. I have used three different units over the years and they are easily purchased online from place like Amazon.  Multiple days of running in a row can sometimes bother my knee a bit. It is a leftover reminder of my softball and base ball days. (yes base ball two words in 1864 which is the rules we played by. Long story).

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is commonly used to treat both chronic and acute pain. The unit has pads that are hooked up usually to a battery operated hand held unit and placed at the site of the pain. There are certain placements based on the body part. The unit then sends electric current from the unit to the pads. There are different settings you can use. I tend to use the pulse burst setting. I also tend to set the intensity high but you can control that yourself from the TENS unit.

The TENS unit has a couple ways in which it can help with pain, whether acute or chronic. The first way is by exciting sensory nerves. By doing this it will help activate certain natural pain relief mechanisms of your body. This can promote the release of endorphins.

Another way it can also help is by bringing increased blood flow to the area. Certain areas of the body, for example a knee joint, do not have a lot of blood flow as certain muscles may have, the TENS unit can help to increase blood circulation there and help promote healing. It can also increase range of motion as studies have shown this treatment can help to increase range of motion by decreasing joint stiffness.

A third way in which may help is that the electronic pulses can intercept the message of pain the nerves are sending to the brain, thereby reducing pain.

This type of treatment is not for everyone. Not everyone enjoys the feeling. In certain areas you require a prescription for one. Also many websites say women who are pregnant should not use, nor those with pacemakers. Each website will have similar guides and suggestions.

I am currently using the Pro V from IQ Technologies. I have also used another one made by HealthMate Forever, and have been happy with both. I do also feel the results and benefits right after each treatment. This is just one way help to speed and increase my recovery, in conjunction with ice, anti-inflammatories etc. You might want to give it a try and see how it helps you deal with any injuries or aches and pains.