More than 20 million people in the U.S. are affected by neuropathy, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In many cases, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy can be used to ease the pain and symptoms of this condition.
What is neuropathy?
The peripheral nervous system is responsible for sending sensory information to and from the brain and spinal cord, known as the central nervous system, and the rest of the body, such as when your hands or feet are cold.
When peripheral nerves are damaged, the loss or distortion of normal nerve signals causes a condition known as neuropathy.
What are the symptoms?
Neuropathy symptoms may include:
- Tingling, numbness, or prickling sensation
- Sharp, throbbing, or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination in the affected body part
What causes neuropathy?
There are many types of neuropathy, some affecting a single nerve, while others affect multiple nerves in the body. It can be a temporary or permanent condition, depending on the severity of the damaged nerves.
It can be caused by various diseases and infections such as cancer, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, shingles, etc. Alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, exposure to toxins, and injuries are some of the other causes of neuropathy.
Managing the underlying condition that caused your neuropathy may help relieve or improve your symptoms. For instance, if your neuropathy is caused by diabetes, it is important to work with your doctor to manage your blood sugar levels.
Pain relief with TENS therapy
TENS therapy is a non-invasive treatment that provides immediate relief without harmful side effects. It has been used for more than 30 years to relieve arthritis, tendonitis, back pain, knee pain, injuries, and many other conditions.
A TENS device delivers subtle electrical impulses through the electrodes attached to your skin. Those impulses flood the nervous system to block the pain signals before reaching the brain.
The same impulses stimulate the production and release of feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers.
TENS therapy can be used for up to 20-minutes per session, several times a day. You can adjust the intensity of the impulses to your comfort level.
Doctors often prescribe strong painkillers to help patients deal with neuropathy pain. However, these medications may help, but they can have side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth. There’s also a risk of dependency or addiction.
TENS therapy is a safe, effective way to manage your neuropathy pain. It can be used alongside other treatment options your doctor may prescribe.
Editor’s Note: Do not use TENS if you have epilepsy, a heart problem, a cardiac pacemaker, or another metal implant in your body. Do not use TENS if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.