Nobody wants to go on surviving while experiencing extreme muscle and joint pains. You will have to take several prescription medications to have them healed, which do come together with several side effects. However, the good news is that if you want to get rid of such painful sensations without the aid of oral medications, some devices are there to help you out. For the sake of your relief, TENS and EMS units are available to help you out. But which is better?
However, the main thing that you must know is about both these devices and the difference in them. So, here it goes.
TENS is actually an abbreviation for the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The TENS device is a battery-powered machine that helps people get relief from painful joints, muscles, and swelling as well. It’s the electrical signals that cause the body to generate endorphins. Endorphins are indeed the natural hormones that help the body to overcome the pain.
EMS is the abbreviated form and stands for electronic muscle stimulation. Such systems are constructed to stimulate the muscles themselves to provide relief to the user. Electrical muscle stimulation is often used in treatment to relieve swelling and inflammation, which may affect the muscles and the supporting joints as well.
Difference between TENS and EMS units:
There is only one point in common when it comes to these devices. In order to stimulate nerves, both TENS and EMS units deliver electrical impulses of low voltage. Their applications, though, are very distinct.
A TENS unit’s purpose is to help activate the ends of the sensory nerve; the purpose is that this activation of sensory nerve endings stops pain signals from entering the brain.
On the other side, an EMS machine allows contraction in the muscles, thus imitating the urge for intervention that arises from the central nervous system.
Hence, these are two different machines that are intended for completely different applications. TENS is applicable for pain relief, while EMS is used for muscle development and physical exercise. Whether you are suffering from persistent nerve or muscle discomfort, you may have learned that non-addictive, drug-free relaxation can be given by a TENS or EMS unit. Although TENS and EMS systems are effective medical options, pain management employs mostly TENS. EMS devices are used for muscle recovery following injuries, and for athletic exercise, not only to alleviate pain. In general, EMS is used for relaxation and development of the skeletal muscle, and TENS is used to alleviate pain symptoms.
It’s indeed necessary as well to recognize that certain systems don’t operate in a similar way. TENS utilizes electrical impulses to disturb signals of pain that essentially distract the feeling of pain. This mechanism relieves pain. For workout and development of muscles, EMS delivers an electrical impulse through the body for inducing contraction. This is the exact electrical impulse that the brain will be transmitting to the muscles to contract them.
Having an understanding of what distinguishes these two therapeutic devices will help you decide whether to opt for a TENS unit or an EMS. This knowledge can also enable you to realize that you can purchase a hybrid tool with TENS EMS that will not only relieve discomfort and pain but also develop muscles in a therapeutic to avoid potential discomfort.
As both TENS and EMS units function differently, the purpose and usage of both these devices are distinctive as well. Here, we are going to explain you each and everything about the application of these machines.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit (TENS Unit):
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, also known as TENS, is a therapy for pain that uses electrical currents to naturally relieve pain without using drugs or non-narcotic painkillers. The electric stimuli activate ends of the nerves and the skin to produce endorphins and distort signs of pain. While ideas of how it functions vary with each, electrical stimulation generally relieves the pain. Check our guide about the best TENS units for more details.
TENS devices utilize the therapeutic signals to stimulate the consciousness to keep the brain from accessing pain receptors. These devices can also encourage the user’s body to create its own natural painkillers known as endorphins; these natural pain relievers are essential for eliminating the pain and improving mood for those who suffer from chronic and severe pain conditions.
Several TENS systems provide a range of programs and modes, and treatment can be customized to the needs of a patient. For full pain relief, it is simple to change the modes on such devices. It is also necessary to note that the pain relief intensity differs based on the patient and the illness they suffer from. A TENS machine should be used if:
- One is suffering from pain following surgery.
- Arthritis pain
- In the case of chronic or acute pain
- In case of headaches from tension or migraine
- Cancer pain
- A person suffers from incision discomfort following the operation
- Chronic sort of discomfort after an injury during some sports activity
- Bursitis or tendonitis
- Pain during the healing of a wound
- IBS pain
- For pregnant women to ease the labor or delivery pain
Electronic Muscle Stimulation Units (EMS Units):
EMS allows for the activation of mechanical muscles. Those systems are constructed for stimulating the bodily muscles to provide relief. In therapy, electrical muscle stimulation is used to treat swelling and inflammation that can strain the muscles and the supporting joints. As these devices help to reduce inflammation, the functioning gets restored, and they also play a vital role in avoiding the dislocation of joints by stressed muscles.
Many physiotherapists and health professionals advise their patients with EMS units for relief from muscle pain. They may minimize muscle spasms and edema that can lead to muscle pain, discomfort, and functionality loss. In therapeutic and home environments, they are often used to promote greater healing by increasing blood supply and enhancing range of motion. EMS systems are often used to further promote the distribution of blood. That’s because they also have the potential to relieve muscle strain and reduce the discomfort of joints and muscles, which can trigger mobility restrictions.
EMS systems are especially effective in raising the circulation of blood in the back and neck, as these regions appear to experience greater pain than the rest of the body. Using an EMS system can be helpful in the following situations:
- Weakness and lack of tone in muscles
- Poor blood circulation
- Muscle atrophy
- Muscle spasms
- Stimulation and re-education of muscles
- Loss in motion range due to some sort of injury and illness
- Post-surgery for prevention of preventing venous thrombosis
Pros and Cons of TENS Units:
TENS units have their own set of pros and cons that are mentioned below:
|Such units help in boosting the immune system.|
|Ease in treatment|
|Relief from pain|
|No known drug or any other therapy interactions|
|No adverse effects on pregnant women or young people|
|Can result in skin dryness|
|May speed up tumor development if directly used on them|
|Risk of cross-contamination if used in contaminated areas|
|Not effective for every single type of pain|
|Not suitable for use on wounds|
|Can cause harm to internal organs or brain|
Pros and Cons of EMS Units:
Using EMS machines does not mean that you will only get advantages or only disadvantages. Both these aspects come side by side, and are as followings:
|EMS units are non-invasive.|
|It decreases discomfort effects and increases the circulation of the blood at the extremities on the lower end.|
|These devices are beneficial to reduce muscle wastage in people who are immobilized and suffer through chronic illness.|
|Enhances joint functioning during arthritis|
|Continuous usage increases cardiovascular capacity in persistent cardiac disease patients.|
|This strategy is symptomatic and should be combined with medical therapy.|
|It is not intended for muscular hypertrophy.|
|Such devices can induce negative impacts, as well.|
EMS or TENS, which one should be used?
It can be hard to decide between a TENS unit and an EMS when it comes to your use. When you’re not aware of whether the main source of the suffering is muscle or nerve issues, speak to a doctor or physiotherapist. To better manage discomfort, these specialists will be able to lead you to the right device. Most people recognize that a TENS unit is perfect for them, and at the clinic of physical therapy, they often undergo that form of therapy.
Do not feel hesitated to contact the physiotherapist to know about the sort of equipment they are using to treat you. If you are already taking nerve pain drugs, a TENS unit is relatively a wiser option to use than an EMS unit. When you are taking drugs to relieve joint and muscle discomfort, weakness, or spasms at the time, and the EMS unit will definitely prove as a better bet than a TENS unit.
Such forms of devices are often a safe option when a chiropractor, physiotherapy, or massage therapist has confirmed that muscle stress will trigger the discomfort. For certain instances, patients experience persistent pain and discomfort concerning both the muscles and the nerves. Most of these people may seek support from hybrid systems providing the functionality of both TENS and EMS.
These combination systems that are light in weight are built to provide patients suffering from persistent discomfort or serious health problems with the latest therapeutic options. The truth of the matter is that before deciding between a TENS and EMS unit, it is crucial to consider the condition which causes your pain.
What is the purpose of EMS?
EMS device’s primary aim is to include the individuals who urgently require help with prompt medical attention, in whom cardiac problems and injuries can contribute to even more deaths. Basically, the EMS works to give us a greater standard of life.
Do EMS units work?
Just as interesting as EMS seems to be, merely wearing an EMS suit and clicking a lot of buttons won’t have the same impact on the body as exercising really. And while EMS may, to some extent, temporarily strengthen, tone, or firm muscles, according to the FDA, it will not cause long-term improvements in health and fitness.
Is EMS dangerous?
An inability to properly determine the potential electrical sensitivity will trigger severe muscle and kidney injury. While EMS training sessions are short, they are very intense — making it sure to consume lots of water after sessions are necessary. EMS preparation is appropriate in combination, mostly under professional control.
Does EMS burn fat?
Surprisingly, the EMS would not have substantial results on lowering waist circumference, abdominal obesity, subcutaneous fat mass, and body fat percentage without changing their activity or diet, causing the researchers to reach the conclusion that the use of therapy that includes current of high frequency may be advantageous in reducing the abdominal obesity levels in young females.
Does EMS really build muscle?
In certain situations, you can utilize EMS to develop muscle sooner. But TENS is still used as stress relief and with medicinal effects. So while EMS can help your muscles to grow, TENS can only help relieve pain after a workout.
What exactly does a TENS unit do?
TENS devices work by providing a person’s skin with brief electrical impulses through electrodes having adhesive pads. These electrical impulses penetrate the nervous system and create capabilities for the spinal cord and brain to transmit pain signals. With the usage of the TENS machine, patients can get relief from the use of drug-based treatments to manage pain in the muscles or joints.
Will a TENS device facilitate healing?
TENS is proposed to strengthen the healing of wound infection and tissue repair and even the efficacy of spontaneous body flaps. These effects may be due to the release of SP and CGRP, which would improve blood supply and thus fasten the events of tissue repair.
Can a TENS unit be harmful?
Although there is a small risk of mild level shock from faulty systems, TENS devices on the market are too weak regarding the intensity to be dangerous, and there is an extremely low possibility of excess voltage in a medical setting. Over-treatment of oneself may cause inflammation to the skin around the electrodes. Searching for the right pads is also essential, as some may cause welts on your body.
Can TENS units have damaging effects on nerves?
It’s safer for most people to use a TENS device, therefore usually, they won’t have any side effects. Nevertheless, the electrical impulses produced by a TENS system may cause a feeling of ringing, numbness, or tickling sensation, which certain people may consider irritating. Some people may even be allergic to the sticky pads that come along. Moreover, although short-term electrical stimulation will not damage the nerve tissue, sustained electrical stimulation can kill the nerve system. The neuronal function can be disturbed after neuronal ultrastructure is affected.
Do TENS units relax muscles?
TENS aids in soothing pain to relieve joint stress, muscle tightness, soreness, and often spasms. Endorphins released by medical TENS instruments also help to inhibit knot development. By increasing the range of motion with both TENS and EMS therapy, you can reduce discomfort from muscle knots. Therefore having a product like this would also provide you with relaxation and pain relief.
Is it possible to treat sciatica pain from the TENS unit?
TENS units are applicable to relieve several types of pain like arthritis. As for the pain of sciatica, the answer to this query is yes. TENS can help in relieving sciatic discomfort and pain — even the intense, and often painful, shooting agony that people often experience. It’s a safe, non-addictive option that one can use instead of painkillers that will help alleviate pain and recover certain sciatic movements.
Can you put a Tens machine on your stomach?
A TENS device can help to relieve the crippling stomach cramps associated with IBS. The stomach discomfort of irritable bowel syndrome that the patient experience is very troubling. You should put a pair of electrodes on the front of your body, and the other one on the back to get comfort from stomach cramps.
Is it okay to use the TENS system on the neck?
TENs can be used to soothe neck pain. Just consider taking a few precautionary measures that include being cautious not to place electrodes on both the front and sides of the neck and close to your head as well.
Can you use a TENS unit on your foot?
The TENS treatment helps by connecting electrodes to the calves or feet for providing very small pulses of electrical current. As the system operates, you will undergo a gentle pulsing sensation and even some pressure in the sole of your feet. This treatment certainly would help you get tremendous relief from the agony in your foot.
Can TENS units help burn fat?
TENS units are not explicitly recommended for weight loss, as opposed to their equivalents, which minimize the waist size. The EMS machine works continuously through a number of muscles. To this end, EMS is required.
How long can you use a TENS unit at one time?
This is normal for one to undergo a 10 to 60 minute medical TENS session. The user can utilize it in a single day, up to four times.
Who should not use a TENS unit?
This is advised not to add electrodes to parts of the body where there is established or suspected cancer. A person will not use TENS in case of undiagnosed disease history and suffering over the last five years. Furthermore, one should not allow electrodes connected to areas near your head.