Pain management is an issue that stares back at mankind, irrespective of the underlying health condition. Whether it is a headache or a back pain, burn or fracture, heart attack or cancer, pain is always a symptom. In some cases like migraines, cancer, etc., the pain is chronic and the patient needs to be constantly on the vigil to know when an attack will ensue. This has also put high pressure on the medical fraternity to identify ways that can provide relief to these people. Various methods have been identified, and one of them is the electrotherapy.
What is done?
A few electrical impulses are directed at the area of the pain using a hand-held device. This is similar to providing electric shocks of mild intensity to the affected area (forehead, low back, neck, etc.). What this does is stimulate the nerve endings, improves circulation and muscle strength and promotes bone growth and tissue repair. The end result of all this is overall improved functioning and pain relief. Depending on the actual condition, the sessions will have to be repeated. In some patients, the electrotherapy is used in conjunction with other therapy so that they can go about their routine exercise and pain relief.
The sessions may also have to be repeated as most often these are used in individuals with chronic pain. They are also helpful in providing relief during the acute attacks.
How does it work?
The most common form of electrotherapy is known as TENS, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The area to be treated is cleansed with spirit and then small sticky pads are applied through which the electricity is passed. A hand-held device is used, through which electrical impulses are passed to the skin, which stimulates the nerve cells to provide relief from pain. It causes a vibrating and tingling sensation in the treated area. It is believed that it blocks the nerve impulses and therefore provides pain relief. Another theory states that they promote the release of endorphins which are natural painkillers; it is also very effective in case of migraine and sciatica and neck pain where the chronic pain is coupled with acute spurts.
With narcotic painkillers having various side effects, techniques like electrotherapy are gaining popularity. A small catch also is that it does not work for everybody and in most people with back pain, fibromyalgia, and migraines, requires repeat sessions for relief. The cost of each session also needs to be considered against the extent of relief achieved. However, for those whom it works, it is a very good technique for chronic pain control. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!