What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a chronic disorder caused by nerve fibers being compressed or aggravated. The severity of discomfort can range from dull soreness, numbness, or tingling to feelings of an electric shock, throbbing heat, or stabbing pains. Nearly 40% of people will experience Sciatica in their lifetime, and the strains will likely become more frequent as they age.
The discomfort caused by Sciatica can be relentless and debilitating. Many sufferers turn to prescription opioids to manage their pain; however, these pills can be addictive and should only be used short-term after careful consideration with a doctor. Many patients choose to combat their aches with natural, non-invasive Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS). A treatment that uses a low voltage electric current to scramble pain signals in the body. This safe, non-addictive alternative, if used correctly, could help users reduce distress and gain some of their mobility back.
Tips To Effectively Place Electrode Pads
Ideally, electrotherapy should be administered by a professional. Trained clinicians know precisely where to place the TENS units and electrodes to reduce their patient's muscle pains. Fortunately for Sciatica sufferers, the same relief available at their physician is accessible at-home. However, for users to get the most out of their treatment, it's essential they know how to use their TENS device and place electrodes properly.
For Sciatica, you first need to establish where the pain originates. Once you have identified its location, outline the tenderest area of the discomfort. In the case of Sciatica, place one pad above where the distress starts and attach the other pad below where it ends. This, in turn, will cover the full area and bring much-needed relief.
Placing Electrode Pads
Always use two pads when creating one channel and four pads for two channels. Using one pad will not work. It should also be noted that if you change the direction or distance of the electrode pads, you will alter the flow of the electrical sensation. Patients can choose to direct the current by placing their pads vertically, horizontally or in an angular manner.
Another helpful tip when placing electrodes is the position of the pads. Never place the pads on a joint such as the knee. The constant movement will interfere with its adhesion and in turn, impede with the TENS’ ability to provide maximum pain relief.
Before using a TENS unit for Sciatic relief, it's advised you first talk with your doctor or physical therapist. If you are pregnant, have a preexisting heart condition or have a pacemaker, you should always consult with your physician before using a TENS device. A trained professional will not only determine if this treatment is right for you, but can also help set the initial settings and determine a suitable application for your needs. Although, it would be helpful to learn how to adjust the treatment parameters yourself so that you can try out different pulse widths, rates, and amplitudes at-home, with a better understanding of what each one affects and just how e-stim via TENS truly works.
The placement of electrode pads on the area of pain matters a lot when using a TENS unit. If you adhere to our tips above you are likely to help alleviate discomfort caused by Sciatica.
Learn more about proper electrode placement or find the TENS device right for your needs!