If you participate in sports that put strain on your back you will eventually suffer lower back pain. Aging also increases the odds of lower back pain as core muscles deteriorate. As I mentioned in my last blog, golf is a leading cause of lower back pain because of the spine torque involved in a normal golf swing. Tennis is another sport that causes back pain because of the many quick back movements needed to make different shots and serves.
I started visiting my local chiropractor several years ago for treatment of lower back pain. I noticed that he always started treatment by placing electrodes on my lower back and applying electrical stimulation. I thought it would be great to be able to use a product like that at home. 3 years ago my good friend Guenter Ginsberg, founder of ProRelax introduced me to their new portable home electrotherapy (TENS)product. These easy to use electrotherapy units give weekend athletes and baby boomers alike an opportunity to relieve lower back pain at home or “on the go”.
TENS stands for “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation” and is a drug free alternative to for managing lower back pain. The TENS unit uses energy waves that are part of the electromagnetic spectrum to produce the desired physiological and chemical effects in the body:
1) Pain relief-TENS stimulate peripheral nerves producing a tingling sensation that interferes with pain. This blocks the pain signals before they reach the brain.
2) Stimulate physiochemical changes-TENS electrotherapy activates the release of endorphins. Endorphines are produced naturally in the body and have pain-relieving effects similar to morphine. They are distributed throughout the nervous system.
3-Stimulate muscle contraction-quality TENS units also include “EMS” therapy (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) which helps activate muscles and increase motion as well as blood circulation.
Unlike surgery or prescription drugs, TENS is non-addictive, causes no drowsiness and can be used indefinitely without the problems associated with prolonged drug use. The low voltage electrical current delivered by the electrodes only penetrates the skin to the level of the nerve fibers. This poses no danger to most people. Those suffering from cardiac conditions, using pacemakers or are pregnant should consult their physician before using.
The combination TENS/EMS controller unit I use is about the size of a small deck of cards. Because it has 2 channels you can use it on both sides of your lower back at the same time. The controller unit is powered by 2 AA batteries so it’s completely portable. It is attached to a compression back belt so you can wear it at home, at work or in your car. Older models use the sticky electrodes that need to be placed on your skin with every use. They are not convenient and frequently need replacement. The latest technology has permanent electrodes attached to the back compression belt. These electrodes only have to be moistened with each use and don’t need replacement. When I am suffering from lower back pain I use my TENS/EMS unit 3 or 4 times per day for an hour at a time. (Hint-use a heating pad (on a low setting) over the back belt to help stimulate blood flow in the injured back area) I don’t recommend using electrotherapy during sleep because movement during sleep can cause the electrodes to shift.
There are a variety of low price home electrotherapy products available at Return2Fitness.net and many other sports medical online stores The “no electrode” back belt system referred to in this blog is available for under $60.
About the Author:Bruce is the president of Return2Fitness.net, an online sports medical resource and product center. His “entrepreneurial spirit” has resulted in the founding or acquisition of 20 companies during his 39 year career. Bruce is not a medical professional so please consult your local specialist before making any changes in the treatment of any injury or condition. Thanks for reading my post! For more information connect with me:
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