For a patient with fibromyalgia, all it takes is for slight pressure to be put on the painful area…and more pain will be felt.
What’s worse is that this pain is located throughout the body, and additional symptoms include fatigue, stress, anxiety, difficulty thinking, cognitive impairment, and possible depression.
Patients with fibromyalgia continuously search for whatever treatments are available in order to relieve as much of the pain as possible.
Muscle relaxants, pain relievers, exercise, and cognitive therapy are all common methods patients use to eliminate the physical, mental and emotional pain they feel.
But one more unique kind of therapy that can help to calm down the symptoms of fibromyalgia is called TENS therapy.
Can it completely help fibromyalgia? Unfortunately, no…remember that fibromyalgia occurs throughout the body, and since TENS therapy is used to treat localized pain, it can’t relieve pain from the entire body.
But if there is one particular spot where you are experiencing the most pain, TENS therapy just might work for you.
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The goal of the therapy is to treat and relieve the pain in a specific area of the body.
TENS therapy works by delivering electrical impulses to nerve pathways in the body.
Since nerves are essentially the accelerator of pain in the body but control the accelerator, TENS therapy works to control the pain and relieve much of it.
TENS Therapy and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia sufferers have 11 different pressure points throughout the body, primarily on the back of the head, neck, shoulders, upper chest, hips, elbows, knees, and lower back.
Since there are eleven pressure points alone, not counting more areas where pain can be felt with fibromyalgia, TENS is an ineffective treatment if the patient is aiming to reduce all of their pain.
Nonetheless, some fibromyalgia patients still seek out TENS treatment anyway since it can reduce pain in specific areas of the body.
TENS therapy is often combined with other forms of pain relief, such as exercise and medication.
Exercise is an excellent treatment for fibromyalgia since it can reduce stress, and lead to a good night’s sleep and healthy eating habits.
TENS therapy can also be combined with other forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, where the patient sees mental health specialists treat their condition from a mental point of view.
The Process of TENS Therapy
One reason to consider using TENS therapy is that it can be done at home, with time and practice.
Other people beyond fibromyalgia sufferers have also turned to TENS therapy as a means to relieve pain from other illnesses and physical trauma. They have found that TENS therapy provides excellent relief.
In order to use TENS therapy, a battery-powered machine will be needed. Professional use a specific TENS machine that is very small and connects electrodes to the skin of the patient.
These electrodes, which basically resemble wires, will be what transfer the electrical current between you and the machine.
The electrode wires will be placed either directly on the pressure point or on the area of pain.
By now, you should be seeing why TENS therapy is used to treat only specific, localized pain; there are only two electrode wires, and there’s only enough power in the machine to power the two electrodes.
Once the machine is turned on, and electrical current will travel through the electrodes and to the nerve fibers in the body.
The electricity sent in the currents will stimulate the nerves by sending signals that interfere with the pain signals sent from the brain to the nerves. In other words, you’ll feel significantly less pain.
As we mentioned, TENS therapy can be easily completed at home. As long as you know the proper instructions and have seen the process done by a professional, it’s very easy for you to operate the machine and correctly place the electrode wires.
When operating the machine, you’ll be able to set the different frequencies and electrical intensities, which can control how much pain relief you want to feel.
For example, you can either try a steady flow of electrical current or short bursts of more intense energy.
However, you should never try anything new without approval from your doctor or medical professional.
TENS therapy is completely safe, but only as long as it is done properly.
It doesn’t exactly work if you run the machine run and the wrong voltage of electricity is sent…you could definitely incur some serious problems then!
TENS therapy is also safe when being used simultaneously with other therapies and treatments, such as medications or exercises.
One major safety concern for TENS therapy is to never place the electrode wire near the eye or on the neck.
There are major arteries there that provide blood to the head, and if it’s impeded, it can lead to serious health issues.
So, can you use TENS therapy to relieve physical pain from fibromyalgia? You certainly can, but don’t expect all of the chronic pain you feel throughout your body to go away.
Only specific, localized points will encounter temporary pain relief. In that regard, if you’re looking for a treatment that can provide relief for your fibromyalgia pain in general, you should keep searching for another treatment.
But if you feel bad enough pain in specific areas, then you can decide if the rewards of TENS therapy are worth it.
If modest pain relief is your goal, then move forward with TENS therapy. Fibromyalgia researchers themselves are torn over whether or not to recommend TENS therapy as a viable treatment plan.
All in all, there have only been very few studies conducted to provide research for the overall effectiveness of TENS treatment as well. In those few studies, fibromyalgia patients did experience at least some pain relief, so maybe you will too.