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TENS stand for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator, and uses electrotherapy as a pain treatment system. The TENS unit has tiny pads connected to a small machine, you place these small pads on the area of your body that aches. Then, the TENS device works hard, sending light electrical pulses into your body through your skin with the use of electrodes, which are placed over peripheral nerves. These electrical pulses exert high frequency signals (continuously, and mildly) to block out the pain signals your body is sending to your brain. This allows your muscle pain to subside, and can greatly decrease chronic pain. Low frequency bursts of mild electrotherapy can also encourage your body’s natural pain relief response to activate, allowing your muscles to find relief quicker than normal.
An EMS device (Electrical Muscle Stimulator), otherwise known as a PMS (Powered Muscle Stimulator) is different from a TENS device, in that it doesn’t block your body’s pain signals, but rather stimulates the muscles to improve their performance. The EMS unit can ease muscle spasms, decreases the chances of muscle atrophy, and increases blood circulation.
Consistent compression of muscles to increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation