Does TENS Help Reduce Inflammation?

Reducing inflammation is a common goal for many people, and fortunately, the TENS unit can help with this. Numerous studies have found that electrical impulses can reduce localized inflammation deep within muscle fibers. The TENS current can be adjusted using many application parameters, such as frequency, intensity, pulse size and application interface, and can be used in a variety of medical conditions. This adaptability makes it difficult to compare the results when the different methods are analyzed separately.

However, regardless of the application parameter used, the grouping of interventions can represent the real effect of current on the outcome (judging here by inflammatory markers).


can reduce the inflammatory process and can be used as a physiotherapeutic treatment for diseases characterized by inflammation and pain. Research has shown that a TENS unit can also reduce chronic hyperalgesia induced by muscle inflammation. The units can help reduce swelling and increase circulation, which can also improve tissue healing and inflammation control.

In summary, the present preclinical study showed that TENS was not effective in reducing primary hyperalgesia in the early and acute phase of inflammation, 4 hours after induction. However, it should be noted that secondary hyperalgesia was reduced in this early and acute phase of inflammation.11 Therefore, clinically, TENS could be effective in reducing radiating pain and secondary hyperalgesia, but probably not primary hyperalgesia shortly after injury. However, 24 hours later, when the inflammation was still acute, and 2 weeks later, when the inflammation was chronic, TENS reduced both primary hyperalgesia and secondary hyperalgesia. Therefore, clinically, after the early and acute phase of inflammation, TENS may be more effective in reducing pain and hyperalgesia.

Another benefit of the TENS unit is that it is small and portable and can therefore be used at home or on the go anytime pain relief is needed. Edema is the accumulation of fluids in the tissues of the body. Symptoms include swelling, tightness, and pain. Edema can also result from insect bites, food allergies, and swelling caused by an injury, and has a burning sensation around the inflamed area. Is it safe to use a TENS unit for edema? It's very safe to use a TENS unit such as ITens to help reduce swelling and pain.

Mild electrical impulses from ITeNs can reduce inflammation found deep in nerve fibers that cause pain. Using a TENS unit to reduce swelling has no adverse side effects, unlike other medications. We propose that TENS may be more effective for pain with movement and reduce the intake of painkillers, properties that would translate into better function and quality of life. The results obtained in experimental groups other than TENS or from studies that do not meet the size criterion due to the scarcity of data will be maintained in the systematic review but will not be included in the meta-analysis if performed. The animals were continuously observed during TENS to ensure adequate anesthesia and to ensure that the electrodes remained in contact with the skin.

Both high-frequency TENS and low-frequency TENS completely reversed the compression abstinence threshold when applied 24 hours or 2 weeks after the induction of inflammation but not when they were applied 4 hours after the induction of inflammation. Specifically, it was demonstrated that secondary hyperalgesia of the leg caused by acute joint inflammation and chronic muscle inflammation was completely reversed with both high-frequency TENS and low-frequency TENS at sensory amplitude. The y-axis shows the force applied in millinewtons and the x-axis shows the time before the induction of inflammation (baseline), after induction of inflammation (4 hours, 24 hours and 2 weeks) (before TENS) and after treatment with TENS or simulated treatment (after TENS). In later stages, TENS could enhance and prolong the increase in inhibition observed after inflammation and therefore cause a reduction in primary hyperalgesia. Low-frequency TENS treatment produced significantly higher compression abstinence thresholds than sham treatment (P). The researchers say that lack of randomized trials of TENS compared to conventional therapy makes it difficult to evaluate effectiveness of TENS and that more studies are needed. Previously both low-frequency TENS and high-frequency TENS were shown to be equally effective in reducing secondary hyperalgesia 4 hours and 24 hours after joint inflammation11,12,25 and 2 weeks after muscle inflammation.

This information would allow physiotherapists to apply TENS to persistent inflammatory processes that occur in various diseases.

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