TENS Unit for Sciatica - Does TENS Machine Work For Sciatic Pain?
If you're wondering does a TENS unit work or how to apply a TENS unit, check out our other articles that go more in-depth about the actual function of the machine. If you're curious about the side effects of a TENS unit, we also have an article dedicated to that which you may want to read before discovering how a TENS unit can help Sciatica which we'll discuss here.
What is Sciatica?
The Sciatica nerve may start transmitting pain signals due to a variety of reasons, including a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Sciatica discomfort typically starts as tingling or numbness in the upper thigh, which can later spread all the way down to your toes and turn into pain.
It's important you identify a sciatica issue as soon as possible, as the pain can eventually become debilitating. Typically, sciatica can be managed with regular exercise, but when the pain becomes too severe to manage, TENS machines are often used.
Does TENS Work For Sciatica Nerve Pain?
TENS machines send electrical pulses through the skin to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. In theory, TENS machines should indeed work well for Sciatica. In addition to preventing the pain, TENS machines also aid in the release of Endorphins, which are natural pain killers found in your body.
Many people who suffer from Sciatica irritation use TENS machines regularly to help manage the pain. TENS machines are totally non-invasive and work over the long term with minimal side effects.
To use a TENS machine, you really only need to insert batters, clean your skin, and apply the electrodes. The remote control of the machine will allow you to adjust the speed and strength of the pulses to accommodate for whatever amount of pain you may be experiencing. TENS machines don't cause any pain either, all you'll feel is a strong tingling sensation.
While results are mixed, about 80% of people experience a great deal of relief in their Sciatica pain during their first use of a TENS machine. These numbers are very promising, and make it worth your while to at least test a TENS machine to see if one will work for you. While pain relief is generally temporary, the real goal is to abolish the pain over the long-term. This is done by using a TENS machine to decrease pain enough for light exercise.
The exercise is what really helps with Sciatica pain and is typically the suggested route. TENS machines are used if pain has gotten to the point that it prevents someone from exercising.
In this case, you'd use a TENS machine to relieve the pain enough so you can walk and get some mild movement in throughout your day. The action of exercising pain-free is what will truly help with your Sciatica pain in the long run.
TENS Therapy for Sciatica Nerve Pain
If you're using a TENS machine to help manage your Sciatica nerve pain, you should check with your physician before use. Certain combinations of pulse speed, width, and strength work better than others depending on the severity of your condition.
Your physician will be able to assist you in choosing the correct settings to best manage your pain and to get the best results possible.
TENS Unit Placement for Sciatica
Knowing where to Place TENS Electrodes for Sciatica pain relief is essential to reaping the benefits of this simple process. In order to actually experience pain relief, you need to place the TENS pads correctly so that the pulses actually influence the pain signals.
To decide where the pads need to be placed, you may wish to have your physician assist you. What you should do is feel the painful area. The spot that hurts the most and causes a reaction is a good place to start.
TENS placement for Sciatica
Generally, the most painful spots are found right along the Sciatica nerve. You can always move around the electrodes if you think it would help you more elsewhere. Try them on many different spots to see which place helps you the most.
Again, having a physician or therapist, or even another professional medical doctor help you when first using the TENS machine will be extremely beneficial. They will help you decide the best settings and assist in finding the most beneficial place for your TENS machine. Take the time to learn these things and you will get much more relief than if you were to just guess.
Surprisingly, the doctor may recommend you place the TENS machine on places that don't hurt at all, as this can actually offer the same or even better pain relief without having to touch the painful area on your body. These trigger points (acupuncture sites) are the most effective places to put your electrodes, and a medical professional will be able to help you find them.
There are really no cons to using a TENS machine. The machine itself is rather simple to operate and the entire process is non-invasive. You can use a TENS machine over the long term, and that vast majority of patients find it helpful for many uses. TENS therapy is low-risk and has minimal side effects. Its use has been proven to reduce and sometimes completely diminish pain, and its use to help people with Sciatica is also becoming more common every day.
If you believe you may be experiencing irritation of your Sciatica nerve, you should consult your doctor and detect any potential issues early on before the tingling/numbness turns into unbearable pain. If you've already reached that point, a TENS machine may very well be your answer to getting rid of the pain over the long-term.
TENS Unit is Not a Cure for Sciatica
Remember, TENS machines for sciatica pain are only used to reduce the pain so you can exercise, a TENS machine itself is not a cure, but instead a gateway to allow you to return to your typical activities and maintain a healthy lifestyle which will, in turn, help your Sciatica pain. Exercise is the best way to handle your sciatica nerve pain, and a TENS machine could help you do just that.
3 Exercises for Sciatica
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