Some pain management clinics offer transcutaneous electrical nerve simulation (TENS) to treat acute and chronic pain. Most medical experts regard TENS as safe, although some doctors dispute its long-term effectiveness.
With TENS, pain management specialists use a battery-powered device to apply a low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. TENS machines can be set for different wavelengths, with either a short burst or steady flow of current.
Physical therapists, acupuncturists, and physicians have two theories about how TENS works. Some believe it cause nerves in the affected area to confuse the patient’s brain. Other argue that TENS treatments cause sufferers to produce endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.
Pain management clinics use TENS machines to treat joint, muscle and bone pain associated with medical conditions such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.