Side effects from TENS machine

Thread Starter

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,921
I was going to a chiropractor who used a TENS machine in my treatment. The last visit, the electrodes were “crossed” - one of each pair on my left/right shoulder, while the corresponding electrodes were on my right/left hip.

I started to experience strong chest pain on my left side. I couldn’t contact the doctor and ended up removing the electrodes myself and stopping the machine. Then I left...

Is this a possible reaction or was it caused by anxiety?
 

Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,315
Left shoulder to right hip would probably put your heart in the path of least resistance. Doesn't seem a wise move.
 

xox

Joined Sep 8, 2017
609
I was going to a chiropractor who used a TENS machine in my treatment. The last visit, the electrodes were “crossed” - one of each pair on my left/right shoulder, while the corresponding electrodes were on my right/left hip.


I started to experience strong chest pain on my left side. I couldn’t contact the doctor and ended up removing the electrodes myself and stopping the machine. Then I left...


Is this a possible reaction or was it caused by anxiety?
I would say more likely a physiological reaction. That sort of treatment can leave muscles tightened up, leading to restricted vascular blood flow and the like.

I would recommend taking a hot bath/shower, lots of stretching, and maybe even some cardiovascular exercise after every treatment to counteract any possible side effects. And of course stay up to date on physical check-ups with your doctor to ensure that it's not doing more harm than good.
 

Thread Starter

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,921
Left shoulder to right hip would probably put your heart in the path of least resistance. Doesn't seem a wise move.
That’s why I may have panicked. Sometimes knowledge isn’t a good thing. The doctor seemed ok with it and apparently it was intentional.
 

Thread Starter

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,921
I would say more likely a physiological reaction. That sort of treatment can leave muscles tightened up, leading to restricted vascular blood flow and the like.

I would recommend taking a hot bath/shower, lots of stretching, and maybe even some cardiovascular exercise after every treatment to counteract any possible side effects. And of course stay up to date on physical check-ups with your doctor to ensure that it's not doing more harm than good.
The whole point of the treatment is to relax the muscles. Works well... normally! When done shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, my back is totally relaxed! And in fact, after this treatment, my back (spine) was relaxed. But, I was experiencing chest pain.
 

xox

Joined Sep 8, 2017
609
The whole point of the treatment is to relax the muscles. Works well... normally! When done shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, my back is totally relaxed! And in fact, after this treatment, my back (spine) was relaxed. But, I was experiencing chest pain.
Well good to hear that it's helping out. :)

I was just raising the point that in the course of stimulating the nerves and muscles it can in fact lead to unreleased tension in certain muscular tissue as well, and thus the possibilty of things like chest pains.

And it's important to monitor the effects of these kinds of treatments. Especially as we get older.
 

Dodgydave

Joined Jun 22, 2012
10,088
I have one and use it when I get sciatica ,always in my right leg, works a treat different wave patterns, frequency and amplitude adjustable, personally I would not put pads near my heart on my chest without consulting the doctor.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,612
The only time I have used a tens stimulator was in physical therapy. The electrodes were probably less than 12" apart and localized on a particular muscle, deltoid. The therapist however also used another method somewhat similar to acupuncture. However, he drilled the needle down into the nerve feeding a particular muscle supply to stimulate the nerve directly. I did wear a device similar to a tens stimulator for about a year. After having my C4-C7 vertebrae in my neck fused (after removing blown discs and bone spurs inpinging on nerves) I used a bone growth stimulator to speed up the cadaver bone to vertebrae fusion. No noticible stimulus but had an electrode pasted to each side of my neck, Ala Frankenstein, connected to the electronic growth stimulator. I still have that thing around here somewhere and oughta tear it down for a lookysee.
 

sparky 1

Joined Nov 3, 2018
611
If you have a sore tooth and then you chew something tough it can result in a painful night.
If you immediately apply extra strength ora gel it will help for a while. In theory the electrical stimulation of the skin to relieve pain by interfering with the neural transmission of signals from underlying pain receptors may not always work.
LH Gray was one of the first to link other phenomena of radio-sensitivity in oncology. In your case you suffer from a different biological inflammation and when the muscle tissue leaks that fluid all the nerves in the vicinity can at once. Some people are able to tune it out but usually end up impaired from normal work activity and seek medical help. I think that trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation better addresses care after the inflammation subsides. Irritating a sore by chewing on something and getting tooth pain is a reaction to an already compromised condition rather than a direct side effect.
 
Last edited:

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,459
The only medical warning I've ever seen on any of those store bought coin cell battery powered (or 2 AAA batteries) is to not put one pad on one side of your head and the other pad on the other.
 

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
9,494
The whole point of the treatment is to relax the muscles. Works well... normally!
A mainstay thought of both traditional and non-traditional medicine is that something that works for some should work for all. No. Medical techniques do not work the same on everyone. I'd say hey, we tried it, it didn't work, no lasting harm, so lets move on.

They call it *practicing* medicine fora reason.

ak

AND, don't misread my tone. I'm a cancer survivor and my wife has had several spine surgeries, so I'm a big fan of "traditional" medicine when done well, and like several of the "alternative" protocols out there.
 

Thread Starter

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,921
A mainstay thought of both traditional and non-traditional medicine is that something that works for some should work for all. No. Medical techniques do not work the same on everyone. I'd say hey, we tried it, it didn't work, no lasting harm, so lets move on.

They call it *practicing* medicine fora reason.

ak

AND, don't misread my tone. I'm a cancer survivor and my wife has had several spine surgeries, so I'm a big fan of "traditional" medicine when done well, and like several of the "alternative" protocols out there.
No tone misread. It’s what we’re doing. Moving on to a different protocol, that is. Thanks for your comments. I was just curious though.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
A mainstay thought of both traditional and non-traditional medicine is that something that works for some should work for all. No. Medical techniques do not work the same on everyone. I'd say hey, we tried it, it didn't work, no lasting harm, so lets move on.

They call it *practicing* medicine fora reason.

ak

AND, don't misread my tone. I'm a cancer survivor and my wife has had several spine surgeries, so I'm a big fan of "traditional" medicine when done well, and like several of the "alternative" protocols out there.
Complete BS.

A mainstay thought of both traditional and non-traditional medicine is that something that works for some should work for all.
Never heard of that . Your source?

As for the TS, his first question should be , "Why wasn't the 'doctor' available?" You need a real doctor.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,214
We just gave one to our son for his back but he only uses one channel. My wife uses something similar for her leg, her femur was eaten by cancer and replaced. As to any bad side effects depending on how the pads are placed? I haven't a clue but would venture you freaked out because you freaked out. I am not a doctor and do not know of anyone here who is a MD. Matter of fact I have no clue if anyone here is a physical therapist. Can a Tens machine even output enough at a distance between shoulder and leg to effect the heart?

Years ago I had shoulder therapy and they used a Tens machine, matter of fact I liked those sessions more than the physical therapy? Anyway, I would be asking someone qualified to give you good dope, I also would have hung around rather than just leave.

I freaked out once in the hospital. An aortobifemoral bypass is surgery to redirect blood around narrowed or blocked blood vessels in your belly or groin. The surgery is done to increase blood flow to the legs. This may relieve symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, and cramping. I woke up with more tubes in me than I ever recall and pain. They cut me every which way. About 2 AM some guy comes into my room in the ICU and tells me I need a breathing treatment. He put this mask on me and anchored the thing to my head. He left but I began seeing visions of a crystal skull, I was hallucinating and ripped the mask off. Turns out a few of my IV drugs had a bad effect on me. Believe me I know what it is to freak out. :)

Really I suggest you talk to someone with an MD following their name or at least someone familiar with this stuff.

Ron
 

Thread Starter

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,921
As for the TS, his first question should be , "Why wasn't the 'doctor' available?" You need a real doctor.
I agree with that. He was treating three patients at once and had left me alone in a room with a closed door.

Ron, I also think that I freaked out. I waited at the nurses desk for ten minutes but they were all on the phone and I became aggravated and left.
 

xox

Joined Sep 8, 2017
609
I agree with that. He was treating three patients at once and had left me alone in a room with a closed door.

Ron, I also think that I freaked out. I waited at the nurses desk for ten minutes but they were all on the phone and I became aggravated and left.
If you're doctor seems too busy to address your issues, try resetting the appointment. That or seek out a referral for another one. No fun switching doctors, but sometimes you have to.

We just gave one to our son for his back but he only uses one channel. My wife uses something similar for her leg, her femur was eaten by cancer and replaced. As to any bad side effects depending on how the pads are placed? I haven't a clue but would venture you freaked out because you freaked out. I am not a doctor and do not know of anyone here who is a MD. Matter of fact I have no clue if anyone here is a physical therapist. Can a Tens machine even output enough at a distance between shoulder and leg to effect the heart?


Years ago I had shoulder therapy and they used a Tens machine, matter of fact I liked those sessions more than the physical therapy? Anyway, I would be asking someone qualified to give you good dope, I also would have hung around rather than just leave.


I freaked out once in the hospital. An aortobifemoral bypass is surgery to redirect blood around narrowed or blocked blood vessels in your belly or groin. The surgery is done to increase blood flow to the legs. This may relieve symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, and cramping. I woke up with more tubes in me than I ever recall and pain. They cut me every which way. About 2 AM some guy comes into my room in the ICU and tells me I need a breathing treatment. He put this mask on me and anchored the thing to my head. He left but I began seeing visions of a crystal skull, I was hallucinating and ripped the mask off. Turns out a few of my IV drugs had a bad effect on me. Believe me I know what it is to freak out. :)


Really I suggest you talk to someone with an MD following their name or at least someone familiar with this stuff.

Ron
Generally safe, but like all treatments has its caveats. And while it can indeed interact with the heart, it shouldn't be too much of a worry since the heart is mostly controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

In severe cases such as what you're family has been dealing with, I'd strongly recommend physical therapy.

In the meantime stay active, hydrated, and of course well rested.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,459
A few horror stories to relate myself. Had a herniated disk in my back. Went to PT (Physical Therapy). Tech put me on a table for traction (pull my spine to make me taller) (OK, to aid in relieving pressure on a nerve). He started with low weight and went up, higher and higher. His last treatment he put too much weight, and it was very uncomfortable. When the treatment was done I couldn't get up off the table. I was in worse pain than ever before. I never went back to that therapist. In stead I went to a chiropractor who also made me taller. 20 times. But he never used too much force. The end result was that I haven't had any pain since then. So that worked well for me.

A final story: Had Pancreatitis. I never knew the body could hurt so much. Was admitted to the hospital and started on Morphine. WOW! That stuff is a WONDER drug. No, didn't make me feel high, just completely blocked the pain. One evening I began to feel pain about an hour before my next dose. Called the nurse to ask for help. She refused. Said she couldn't before a certain time. Within minutes of her leaving I found myself in a lot of pain. Then more pain. Then more. And more. It was to the point where I was screaming in agony. She was reluctant to call the doctor but I was screaming so hard I was almost passing out from hyperventilation. She finally made the call and the doctor OK'd a higher dose and to administer it immediately. Finally got the relief. Stayed in for two more days. What a harrowing experience that was. I hugged my wife and began crying uncontrollably from the experience. I think it's safe to say I never want to die slowly like that. Just shoot me and put me out of my misery.

Tens devices? I have one. It seems to help. But one never knows whether the cessation of pain is due to a device or just the body's natural defenses. Have had back pains that went away on their own and back pains that went away after Tens treatment. I really couldn't tell you if it worked. But I keep it around just in case I THINK I need it. The mind is a powerful drug.
 
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