More than 50 million Americans are living with chronic and acute pain, according to the CDC Report. Among many physicians, opioids have commonly been the choice for chronic pain management. However, because of the side effects and risks associated, many people with chronic pain are looking for opioid alternatives.
If this sounds like you, TENS electrotherapy could help better manage your pain, reduce the need for opioids and improve your overall quality of life. Be sure to consult with our Health Advocates at your preferred time.
Opioid Chronic Pain Management
Finding relief from chronic pain is essential to enjoying life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that doctors prescribe opioids to about one out of five people who have pain not related to cancer. Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain to block pain signals.
These receptors also control important functions in your body, so using opioids can cause a range of side effects, including:
- Respiratory instability.
- Sleep apnea.
- Mood disorders.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Allergic reactions.
- Physical dependence.
- Dangerous interactions with other drugs.
You a pain management specialist can manage many of these side effects with other prescription medications. But as you balance pain relief with side-effect management, you may find yourself ordering your day around your medication schedule. It doesn’t have to be that way.
While prescription opioid medication can play an important role in helping manage acute (short-term) or cancer pain, these drugs were never intended to routinely treat chronic (long-term) pain. Even today, there is a lack of evidence for such extended use.
TENS for Chronic Pain Relief
TENS therapy is a drug-free technology to manage your pain.
Electrotherapy TENS is a small machine with electrodes that send stimulating pulses along nerve strands and across the skin’s surface. These impulses help to reduce pain by encouraging the body to produce more endorphins, which act as a natural painkiller.
Also, the electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles.
TENS unit can be used to help manage both chronic and acute pain; your physical therapist/chiropractor can help determine the best use of TENS for your condition.
Benefits of TENS Unit
Since TENS is a non-invasive and drug-free way to get pain relief, many physiotherapists use it to relieve a wide range of acute and chronic pain.
You may benefit from this therapy if you’re suffering from,
- Back Pain
- Pelvic Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Sports Injuries
- Menstrual Pain
- Aching Joints or Migraines
It’s also sometimes used as a method of pain relief during labour.
Reduce Medication Dependence
When you take opioids, your body builds up a tolerance, meaning that you may need to take a higher dose to feel the same relief over time. Higher doses can lead to more side effects. One goal of TENS therapy is to stop the dose escalation and reduce dependence on opioids for chronic pain management.
If you’re struggling with pain and want to reduce or avoid taking opioids, talk to our pain management specialist about TENS therapy. Also, know instantly if your carrier covers benefits for TENS pain management device.
Chronic pain and medication management can pull you away from the things you love. TENS therapy may be a way for you to regain your sense of normalcy and return to the activities you enjoy with the same pain reduction and fewer side effects.