“Can I use a TENS machine for my neck?” It’s a question we hear all the time.
There are many benefits to using a TENS unit to alleviate pain in the body, and the neck is no exception. From reducing inflammation to providing a natural approach to pain relief, a TENS unit is a go-to for managing pain.
What is neck pain & what are the symptoms?
Neck pain is associated with stiffness or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and upper back area. Before figuring out how to use a TENS machine for neck pain, you may want to think about what might be causing any discomfort in the area and keep an eye on symptoms to look out for. There are a number of symptoms and causes that can lead to neck pain.
What causes neck pain?
Neck pain is a common complaint that affects most people at some time or another. There are many causes of neck pain, so it is essential to correctly identify the cause of your pain so you can effectively address it with tools like a TENS machine.
Muscle strain and tension
Human bodies can hold a great deal of tension in the neck muscles, which leads to pain and discomfort. Muscle tension can happen suddenly or slowly, so it is common to wake up with neck pain after sleeping in an uncomfortable position or exercising.
Stress has a profound effect on the body. When stressed, you may unknowingly be tensing and straining the muscles in your neck, causing pain and discomfort. Take a moment to check in, are your neck and shoulders relaxed right now?
Injuries caused by things like exercise, sports or car accidents can lead to prolonged neck pain. Any situation in which your head is whipped and jarred can cause damage, leading to injuries and strains.
The neck muscles work incredibly hard to keep our heads upright and functioning. If the weight of your head is not correctly supported by correct posture, these muscles need to compensate, ultimately leaving them working harder than they should. This can cause strain and tension, which leads to pain.
Wear and tear
The ageing process is a natural part of life. Unfortunately, neck pain is bound to happen as we get older. Specifically, spinal discs age and become weaker over time, putting more pressure on the muscles in the neck.
What is a TENS machine & how can it help relieve neck pain?
A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit, or TENS machine, is a device that uses low-voltage electrical pulses to manage and relieve pain. This is achieved by strategically placing electro pads on areas of the body that require pain relief. TENS units help put a pause on pain with their various therapy modes and intensity settings. Aura by VUSH Wellness is a compact, cordless device that allows you to alleviate pain on the go.
Where to place a TENS machine electro pads to relieve neck pain
It is essential to know the proper placement of TENS unit pads for neck pain to ensure that you are targeting the right areas of your body. So, here is a breakdown of the best places to relieve neck pain.
Upper Trapezius - Under skull
One of the best ways to use a TENS machine for neck pain is the placement of two electrodes on either side of your spine, low on the back of your neck. Do not place the electrodes on the front of your neck or directly over your spine. The upper back and lower neck have a higher oil content than other areas of the body so ensure the skin is completely clean before attaching a TENS unit.
Mid Trapezius - Above shoulders
The placement of TENS machine pads above the shoulders is another way to use a TENS machine to relieve neck pain. Position one electrode on the bulk of the shoulder muscle, close to the neck and the other placed closer to the edge of the shoulder.
Lower Trapezius - Beneath shoulders
Mimic the same placement as above shoulders, just a bit lower. Otherwise, position the TENS device vertically and place one electrode pad on the shoulder muscle and the down towards the shoulder blade on the lower trap muscle.
How to use a TENS machine for neck pain
Now that you know where to place TENS pads for neck pain, it is time to think about how you can best use a TENS unit for this pain.
1. Clean electro pads
Before you use a TENS machine for your neck pain, it is vital that you ensure the pads are clean. This will help to ensure that the adhesive pads are not compromised or damaged to get the most out of your TENS unit.
2. Placement of electro pads onto neck pain points
Knowing the best placement of TENS pads for neck pain will significantly impact your overall experience. Be sure to stay away from the spine and bone to avoid diminishing the effect of the electrical pulses, and always place the pads on clean, dry skin for optimum use.
3. Know how to turn the TENS machine on
It sounds obvious, but you must never forget to follow the proper steps for turning your TENS unit on. Make sure the TENS device is securely attached to the body, then short press the power button to turn Aura on.
4. Know how to set TENS unit intensity and therapy mode
Every TENS unit is equipped with several intensity and therapy modes to better help you, depending on your needs. With Aura, short press the power button again to cycle through the therapy modes, and use the (+) and (-) buttons to change the intensity. Read the instructions to determine which setting to use, but remember, it’s always recommended to start on lower intensity levels and work your way up for a comfortable experience.
What are the benefits of using a TENS machine for neck pain?
If you are on the fence about using a TENS unit for neck pain, there are several advantages that you should be aware of.
Minimises pain naturally
One of the best benefits of using a TENS machine for your neck is managing and minimising pain naturally. This gives you the opportunity to reduce the amount of drugs and painkillers you’re using, if that’s something that is important to you.
Using the placement of electrical currents into the muscle helps promote a healing effect at the cellular level. This is a considerable benefit if you are overcoming an injury. TENS machines also produce endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, and can help you recover from pain quicker.
Using the proper placement of TENS machine pads can help reduce inflammation within the muscle. This can be helpful for various pain throughout the body, including the neck. TENS devices can also give the appearance of reduced swelling.
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If you have ever wondered, “can I use a TENS machine for my neck pain?”, hopefully, you realise the answer is a resounding yes! The proper TENS machine placement can work wonders for pain and discomfort in the neck and can do much more!
To learn more about how to use a TENS unit, take a look at our VUSH Wellness blog, where we cover topics including Where to Place Your TENS Machine, 5 Reasons You Should Invest in a TENS Machine, and How VUSH staff Use a TENS Machine.
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