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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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whistonian

Tens Machine

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I have read on a number of threads that using a tens Machine can help phantom pain,however does anyone know exactly where the Tens pads should be placed on a BKA stump. :smile:

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If you're using a TENS machine for pain management then you really should seek advice from a pain management specialist first as if you do it wrong you could make the problem worse. If you already see a physio it is likely they will be able to advise you as this is a standard treatment method.

That said, when I was prescribed TENS therapy I wore the pads at the base of my lumbar spine and the machine was set to a dull tingle. The idea is that the electrical stimulation at the bottom of your spinal cord interferes with the neuro transmitters thereby stopping the pain signals getting to your brain.

The effectiveness of TENS therapy can vary based on many factors such as how well hydrated you are, how much salt you have in your body, the output voltage of the machine, the frequency of the pulses and the duration of those pulses.

At the right setting a TENS machine can work wonders however they can also AMPLIFY nerve signals and therefore make the Phantom limb sensation worse.

Putting the pads directly on to your stump is less likely to be effective as the electricity will be going to a muscle rather than a nerve, working the muscles (which are wrapped around the nerve) could aggravate the nerve damage it's also unlikely that the electricity will penetrate deep enough to block the nerve signals.

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Agree with Grum,

get specialist advice.

Follow instructions you get with the TENS. You should however definitely place the electrodes on either side of your spine in the lower back area. Start on a low setting and increase as the feeling/tingling intensity wears off.

Good luck with it, it didn't really help the pain for me but did help me relax a bit.

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hi whistonian, i did a trial of tens for phantom, for leeds uni, he told me to put the pads behind my knee, it didn't work for me, but i will try it by my spine the next time, maybe it will work, i get these a lot so its worth a try

cheers

maggie

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I sought the advice of a therapist for this. I placed a pad on each side of my spinal column at the 4th lower lumbar. The TENS at this point is supposed to help block the pain. It did absolutely nothing for me but everyone is different. Ask your pain doctor

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