TENS for spasticity and/or pain relief.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
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TENS for spasticity and/or pain relief.

Post by admin » Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:19 am

I have been using TENS for half a decade now. I originally started because I read it could help with spasticity. At the time, spasticity relief was my holy grail. That, and fatigue, but I'll post about fatigue on another thread.

Here is my TENS machine, actual pic. I bought it because it had the most features. I am a big fan of overkill. After using it for all this time, to be honest, I think any old one would do just as well. As long as you can adjust the frequency and the pulse width. It's not rocket science.


You'll need some electrodes.


And, even though the electrodes may claim to be self adhesive and reusable, they aren't (not for long anyway). I use gel and tape to fix the electrodes on.


There are three types of muscle stimulation:

TENS - Transcutaneous Electrical Muscle Stimulation.

Stimulates the muscles.


EMS - Electrical Muscle Stimulation.

Stimulates the muscles


FES - Functional Electrical Stimulation.

Stimulates the nerves to stimulate the muscles.

Which is confusing, as they are all electrical muscle stimulation, still, I didn't name them, so don't blame me.

Anyway, they use different waveforms. TENS if for pain relief and EMS (or FES) is meant to stimulate the muscles, get them moving, similar to exercise. You can see all kinds of claims made that EMS will build up/tone up your muscles, no exercise needed. Wishful thinking, I believe.

Talking about spasticity/pain, TENS is like having a deep tissue massage, really deep.

Adjust the frequency, makes it faster or slower.

Adjust the pulse width, adjusts how deep the massage feels.

It only works for certain kinds of pain. I use it for muscle pains. The old spasticity pulls my muscles tight, extremely painful at times. Calves, biceps, fingers, shoulders. I do a lot of stretching as well, but if the pain ramps up I use the TENS.

I'll be honest here, with muscle pain, as soon as I turn on the juice, the pain stops, stops stone dead. Or maybe the pain is still there, but I feel it differently. Doesn't matter to me, no pain = happy me.

Stops the pain, plus massages my tense muscles nicely, such that after the TENS session is over, I (hopefully) have no more pain. Though, if it was a bad one, the pain often comes back, sometimes an hour later, sometimes the next day. I went through a long period of shoulder pains, went on for months, and it was murder trying to stick those electrodes onto my back, finding the right place. Was worth it, though. I have never regretted using TENS.

I have never done it for shorter than three hours. Sometimes I do it all day, from breakfast until bed.

Spasticity, I mainly use it on my calves. Both legs at once.

Relaxes my muscles a treat. If you accept how a drug like Baclofen is simply a muscle relaxant (albeit at the cost of relexing your entire central nervous system). TENS selectively relaxes whatever muscles you choose. Doesn't do them all, but at least it doesn't get you stoned/tired/lethargic.

And there have been plenty of scientific reports published on the effects of TENS on spasticity, though, as you'd expect, none for adrenomyeloneuropathy.


The Effects of Exercise with TENS on Spasticity, Balance, and Gait in Patients with Chronic Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial

A combination of therapeutic exercise and TENS may reduce spasticity and improve balance, gait, and functional activity in chronic stroke patients.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation improves walking capacity and reduces spasticity in stroke survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

The results support the use of repeated applications of TENS as an adjunct therapy for improving walking capacity and reducing spasticity in stroke survivors

https://www.elsevier.es/en-revista-neur ... 0818301354

In light of our results, we recommend TENS as a treatment for spasticity due to its low cost, ease of use, and absence of adverse reactions. However, the great variability in the types of stimulation used in the studies, and the differences in parameters and variables, make it difficult to assess and compare any results that might objectively determine the effectiveness of this technique and show how to optimise parameters.
FES is different.

It is specifically designed to make your muscles move. Sometimes I switch,mid session, from TENS to FES to quickly get my muscles vibrating away, shake them all up. Then I return to the TENS. TENS is much more gentle than FES.

I also use FES for foot drop. I place the electrodes on my peronial nerve to dorsiflex my foot, or by reversing the polarity, I can flex the foot. I set the timer on my FES to dorsiflex/flex every minute or so for one hour, as I watch TV or whatever.



Hang on ,YouTube took the vids down. I'll reupload on a different account.

They use this method in rehabilitation clinics. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

I have seen online how sports rehabilitation-people use FES on professional sports types to deal with injuries, but it is hard to find accurate information about this. I honestly don't know how it (or if it) helps with muscle repair.

These commercial walking aids like Odstock https://www.odstockmedical.com/products ... E-pace-kit also use FES to correct your foot drop on the fly as you actually walk. Again, it's not rocket science, just electrodes attached to your peronial nerve, and a pressure switch in your shoe to tell the FES when to fire. It is a very crude science, stimulating your muscles through your skin.

I'll post some more vids in a bit, a lot of different muscles and/or nerves to fire up. Some easier to hit than others.

Foot drop is what makes me trip over, maybe you too. I'll also point out that 4-AP and 4-AP-3-MeOH both help with spasticity and foot drop. You can buy 4-AP and 4-AP-3-MeOH online from mod4all. I'd plug them even if they weren't sponsoring this site (I plugged them for years anyway).

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