TENS machine, anyone? (pain relief) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 02-12-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Last night, we had our 37 week home visit, and my midwife brought a TENS machine to show me. It stands for *something* like trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. (that's right, even with google *right* here, I am too lazy to look it up). Anyhow, from what she explained, you place these sticky pads in four areas of your back, and every time you have a contraction, you stimulate. The idea is that the electrical stim travels your nerves more quickly than the pain can, and so the pain is theoretically interrupted before your brain can process it. I have read a little about it, and it sounds like it could help.

I am also doing hypnosis, but I *have* to hedge my bets. Why not? They have it for free for me.

Here is a video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gUEtYAqPw8

Anyone ever tried one or have thoughts about them?

Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#2 of 2 Old 02-12-2010, 03:58 PM
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I think they can be effective. I worked as a physical therapist pre-kids (but mostly in early intervention where we don't really use TENS).

As you said, the theory goes back to the "gate control" theory of pain relief. Basically pain travels on a different track through your spinal cord than other sensations. The "other" sensations (like the prickly feeling tens can produce) travel *faster* than pain signals in general. So essentially the TENS confuses your brain because that signal is traveling up your spinal cord faster than pain and it kind of interferes a bit with how your brain is processing the "pain" signals.

FWIW, this is why certain things like "mineral ice" etc. work...the "tingly" sensation they produce is sort of like a more mild version of TENS.

Sometimes you can almost create a bit of an acupuncture-like effect with TENS as well.

I haven't used it in labor but have considered it. Hypnobirthing/hypnobabies did the trick the last two times, but it never hurts to have extra options available

eta: some people find the "prickly" sensation from TENS really annoying, some people aren't bothered by it. Not sure if you got to try it out in advance. and you are right...Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Not sure if there's anything else you want to know...you seem like you understand it pretty well already, but ask away if you have any questions.
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