Pain Clinic

Instruments used for Pain treatment:

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation):

Transcutaneous means 'through the skin'. TENS machines deliver small electrical pulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. TENS machines are thought to affect the way pain signals are sent to the brain. Pain signals reach the brain via nerves and the spinal cord. If pain signals can be blocked then the brain will receive fewer signals from the source of the pain. We may then feel less pain.

TENS machines are thought to work in two ways:

• When the machine is set on a high pulse rate (90-130 Hz) it is thought to trigger the 'pain gate' to close. The 'pain gate' is a theory that says that when certain non pain-carrying nerves are stimulated then these can can interfere with ('close') signals from nerves that transmit pain. The TENS machine is thought to stimulate certain non pain-carrying nerves. This may then interfere or block pain messages sent to the brain. This is the normal method of use.

• When the machine is set on a low pulse rate (2-5 Hz) it stimulates the body to make its own pain easing chemicals called endorphins. These act a bit like morphine to block pain signals.

Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture:

Mentioned and explained in the initial column.

Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. According to some acupuncturists, this practice augments the use of regular acupuncture, can restore health and well-being, and is particularly good for treating pain.

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