Pain relief specialists continue to delve into the wide spectrum of chiropractic care. Chiropractic is a natural therapy focusing on the manipulation of joints and their connectors, particularly in the spinal, back and neck regions (where the most impact occurs). While much of chiropractic technique relies on joint manipulation, many practitioners are learning of new technology which can greatly increase pain management in clients.
The Dis-ease of Pain
Some pain is simply annoying while some pain can be absolutely debilitating. When chronic pain ensues, life becomes all about stopping it. Side-effects can include sleeplessness (insomnia), weight gain, muscle tautness, and muscle contractions, depression, and lack of interest in usual hobbies, just to name a few. Deferring the pain only grows more difficult the longer left untreated. Many seek medication, but these options often harbor crippling side-effects and can lead to a lifetime of dependency, rather than seeking to isolate the root cause and curing it. Standing by its quest for natural options without the side effects, chiropractors continue to research studies which began in the 1960’s regarding the science of pain: how it works and how the spine and brain control the sensation. Some amazing technologies emerged then, and are continually being improved upon today.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) uses a system of electrodes arranged to conduct electrical currents activating points along the spinal cord and brainstem. Using different levels of frequencies, small electric signal block or interfere with the Neuro relays, causing the patient to feel a reduced sense of pain during the adjustment procedure. Currently, there are debates as to exactly how these electrical impulses affect the sense of pain, but nothing is concrete at this time of study. The most common thought is that the electrical signals activate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain and stress fighters. Many people attest to their effectiveness. This advanced technology primarily assists with minor pain relief as well as chronic ailments such as arthritis or tendonitis, even child labor and cancer pains. Additionally, unlike medication, there are no ill side-effects with which to deal.
Studies also show that chronic pain leaves muscles tightened and sore. If left tight, the muscle tension will increase the pain felt. Continued research shows the benefits of using all ranges of frequency, not only to attend to the most intense pain, but also to relax the muscles, dissipating or decreasing the spasms. While this mode of relaxation is most often used in conjunction with chronic pain, it can also be used for more simple reasons like relation of muscle tension (ie: sports). However, there is still a controversy regarding the effect along the lumbar region as not enough evidence nor data has been collected, as studies are costly and non-conclusive. It is like measuring the word “better.” Chiropractic doctors are not only medical practitioners, they are scientists, and as such are constantly seeking new and improved methods to bring relief and healing to their clients.
TENS can be taken home and are not solely for use at a doctor’s office. They are also available for purchase by the individual. Good TENS units can cost upwards of $500. Patients can wear the equipment and carry it around for constant access to pain relief. Be certain to consult your chiropractor before conducting treatment. Ask Dr. Hamilton if a TENS unit is right for you.