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Tens Machine - Is it the right Pain Relief for You?

TENS machines are a non-invasion, drug free form of pain relief. Used to treat various forms of pain, from arthritis to labour, they have a variable effect, with some patients and users getting remarkable pain relief from the machine, and others finding them less effective. But they are harmless to use in the short term, with none of the side effects common to most forms of pain relief, so it is an option that is definitely worth considering.

By using very slight electrical impulses the body is stimulated into releasing pain killing endorphins by the TENS machine, and there is also a theory that nerve receptors in the brain are blocked by the impulses, effectively shutting down that nerves ability to feel pain. It is absolutely safe to use a TENS machine with pharmaceutical pain killers, and if you’re using it as a labour pain control device then you can also use analgesics, such as pethidine or gas and air. They have also been proven to have no effect on babies.

It is a form of pain control that has been around for centuries; even Roman records show a form of electrical impulse being used for pain relief.

If you are considering using TENS machines as part of your birth pain control options then be aware that many NHS don’t have TENS machines for use. The general means of having the option to use them for pain treatment is to hire the electrical TENS machines from Lloyds Pharmacy or other facilitators.

TENS machines are small, portable, and relatively easy to use. The hand held controllers are attached by wires to pads that are attached to the skin. The impulses are controlled via the hand held controller, and can be set to a range of levels. The pads have electrodes that pass the impulse form the pad to the skin. In labour, the mother would have the pads attached to her lower back, and would begin with low intensity impulses, and gradually rise the settings as labour progresses. Because the controller is battery operated and small enough to carry mothers to be are completely mobile while using the TENS machine.

If you decide you want to use a TENS machine for labour pains then it is advisable to get one early, so that you can practice. Both fitting the electrode pads, and adjusting the settings are things that you will want to know how to do before starting labour. You will also need to know what settings are most suitable for you; people have varying degrees of sensitivity.

While you can use other forms of pain relief at the same time as the TENS machine, they can’t be worn in birthing pools. They are also unsuitable for women who have heart pace makers fitted, or have a history of epilepsy.

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