People who suffer from sciatica understand how life gets difficult each and every day. It is tough to deal with daily activities by bearing the pain. Yes, there are hundreds of medications in the market that promises to heal the pain, but do they really provide any sustainable effect on sciatica pain?
Well, there is an effective way to give your pain relief without taking any medicine, and that is using TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines. This machine soothes the pain and improves the lifestyle a lot. You will find the best tens unit for sciatica in the market, but before that, you have to know how to use a tens unit for sciatica. Stay tuned to know about it.
Does tens work for sciatica?
Patients with sciatica pain take a painkiller to kill the unbearable pain of sciatica. But medical experts advise going for a therapy that will help to reduce the pain. One of the reliable treatments is using the TENS unit that uses the electric pulses to treat the pain. It is non-addictive, effective, and safe. You can use the unit at any place or anytime.
The TENS machine uses the electrical pulses through the skin to stop the pain signal from reaching the brain. It also helps to release the endorphins hormone, which is the natural pain killer.
How to use a tens unit for sciatica?
As the TENS unit is a medical device, you have to use it properly per the instruction you will get from your doctor. Go through the instructions carefully before using the device. Follow the below steps when you are using the tens unit:
Before applying the tens unit, you have to stay relaxed. Take deep breaths, relax your muscles, especially the muscle area where you are feeling pain.
Check the battery level
Charge your tens device for 8-10 hours. You have to check the battery level before the use of the device. Check the electrical buttons or knobs are in the starting position. It is to prevent the unintentional electrical release. Among the two knobs, one-knob controls the electrical signal and make it strong or weak. And the other knob controls the electrical signal speed. Remember to turn off the knobs before use.
Clean your skin
Take and rub some alcohol in the skin where you will place the electrodes. It helps to wipe off the dead skin cell. After rubbing, let your skin dry.
Apply a thin coat of gel on the electrode bottom. The gel lets the electrical signal going to the nerves through the skin. You can also place the electrode directly if it comes with reusable gum. There is some machine that allows using a medical tape over the electrodes.
Connect the wires
The electrode wires have pin connectors, hook them to the electrodes. Then you can plug the wires to the TENS unit.
Start the device
After placing the electrodes, turn on the control knobs. At first, you will feel tingling. Start from the lowest power then slowly increase power. You have to adjust the frequency depending on the pain level.
Shut off the device
After taking the treatment, turn off the control knobs. Then unplug the wires from the TENS machine.
Wipe the gel from the skin
Remove the electrodes from the skin and wash the skin. Use soap and water to remove the gel from the electrodes. Don’t use alcohol as it is not good for the rubber. If the gum doesn’t work, then get new electrodes.
Take out the battery
Take the battery out and recharge it for the next treatment.
Note: till now, we have learned about the use of tens units. If you are looking for the best tens unit for sciatica, then check our review about the machines in our next article. It will help you to select the one you need to deal with sciatica.
- As it is an electrical device, you have to use it carefully. Here are some safety tips you can follow:
- Don’t ever think of placing the electrode pads on your mouth, throat, sinus nerves, and temples.
- Never place the electrodes on the heart and inflamed area.
- Avoid using the TENS unit if the battery charge is low.
- Always clean the skin before using the machine
- During the treatment, if you feel the muscle is jerking, control the signal power.
- To avoid the skin sore or redness, move the electrodes slightly.
- Do not go near water or sleep while you are taking the treatment with the TENS unit.
- Keep the TENS unit in a dry and cool place after any use.
Are There Any Side Effects When Using Tens Machines For Sciatica?
To get relief from the pain like sciatica, the usage of the TENS machine getting popular. You cannot stop making the list of benefits you get from this tiny device. Yes, it has some side effects, but it is minor. Let’s talk about them:
- The common side effect of this TENS unit has sore or burned skin. But it happens for a reason, and the reason is using the electrodes without gel and placing them on the same spot. And if some skin is allergic to the lubricating gel, then it will get rash and itchy.
- While taking the treatment, you may feel pain. It happens for two reasons – one reason is the electrode pad is dry, and the other reason is the power of the unit is too high.
- A TENS machine is not for them who have a heart problem or use a pacemaker as it works by sending electrical signals in the body.
- Don’t use the machine when you are pregnant as electrotherapy is not good for the mother and baby both. But you can use it on you are on labor pain as it will help to ease the pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do TENS units relax muscles?
Yes, TENS units treat the muscle knots by loosening them. Thus, the muscle gets relaxed.
How often should you use a TENS machine for sciatica?
You can use the TENS as long as you need it by taking a break. We recommend using the machine for one hour and three times a day.
Does a TENS unit increase blood flow?
Yes, the TENS unit increases the blood flow by healing the muscle contractions that help to dilate the blood vessels.
After reading this helpful guide about how to use a tens unit for sciatica, all of them out there who are dealing with this pain every day can use this pain relief machine. This little device works to stop the pain signal from going to the brain and releases the endorphin hormone to feel better.
There is a rumor that the TENS unit kills the cells, which is a big bluff. You will not believe how many people are using this device and getting relief from the pain like sciatica. If you are still unsure about the use, benefits then consult with a doctor or an experienced therapist. You will get good advice that will lead you to use this wonderful and natural pain killer device.