Back pain can be tricky because it doesn’t always respond well to basic remedies like rest and the application of heat or ice. Before getting into a discussion with your doctor about having spinal surgery, Los Angeles physicians suggest exploring treatments that may not be on your immediate radar. One possibility is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a type of therapy involving the use of low-voltage currents.
The electric current used in TENS therapy is delivered through electrodes connected to the part of the back where you are experiencing pain. The electrical impulses are delivered through wires attached to a handheld battery-operated box. You’ll be able to determine when impulses are sent and at what strength. To prevent unintentional misuse, instructions will be given so you’ll know when and how to deliver impulses.
Many patients report less pain after TENS applications. It’s believed the electrical currents block nerve signals that travel from the spine to the brain. As a result, pain originating from the affected nerve in the back area isn’t interpreted by the brain. However, relief from TENS is usually temporary, and it does not address the true source of back pain.
Various studies on TENS therapy suggest the electrical currents may encourage the release of endorphins. Considered the body’s natural pain relievers, endorphins minimize pain sensations. The extra endorphins released from TENS therapy may ease reliance on pain medications commonly used to control back pain, some of which may contribute to dependence issues with long-term use.
TENS therapy isn’t for everyone, and research into its effectiveness is inconclusive because results are somewhat subjective. Nonetheless, it’s a treatment that’s often well tolerated. Because TENS has little or no side effects, it’s generally considered safe, although it shouldn’t be used in conjunction with heat or cold applications.
If you are experiencing severe back pain, you may need some form of minimally invasive surgery. To learn about spinal fusion and fusion alternatives like Coflex surgery, Los Angeles surgeons at The Spine Institute are here to help. Call 310-828-7757 today to find out how you can start living a pain-free life.