To treat neck pain or stiffness, the patient should place the TENS unit’s electrodes to the affected area and apply current at the appropriate wavelength and intensity, WebMD explains. The appropriate settings for the unit are determined in consultation with the specialist supervising the treatment.
TENS treatment is performed with a small device that relieves pain in a given spot using electric current, and it can be done at home, WebMD states. Two electrodes are placed on the skin, either on the area where the patient is experiencing pain or on a pressure point. These electrodes create an electric circuit that transmits impulses between them using nerve fibers. There are multiple theories explaining the pain relief some patients report after this treatment. One theory states the electric current stimulates the body to produce endorphins, which block the sensation of pain. Another theory states that, as the current stimulates the nerves in the affected area, the nerves’ ability to transmit pain signals to the brain is diminished.
TENS is considered a safe treatment option, but its effectiveness is not backed by evidence, WebMD reports. The unit may not be safe if handled incorrectly, and instructions for its use from a doctor or physical therapist should be followed. Any alternative treatments, including use of a TENS unit, should always be determined in agreement with your doctor.