Updated: Nov 16, 2019
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is a widely used in humans and is often well tolerated in dogs and horses; who soon learn to relax and enjoy the sensation of the TENS machine. It has beneficial properties by reducing muscle spasm and muscle tightness. Muscle spasms are signs of painful trigger points which cause discomfort to your horse or dog. A trigger point is a point in the muscle that is painful when touched. They are tight balls of muscle fibres that can't relax completely due to pain. When we say "I have a 'knot' in my neck", that is an example of a trigger point.
The electrical impulses produced by the TENS machine disrupts the pain signals from the muscle to the brain, causing the trigger point to release. TENS also causes endorphins to be released, which are the body's natural 'painkillers', and increases blood flow to the area, which in turn helps to reduce muscle spasm.
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Gupta, R.K., Patil, M. and Tondare, S.P. 2016. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation using microcontroller. International Journal of Engineering Science and Computing, 6 (5), pp. 5994 - 5996.
Pallett, E.J., Rentowl, P., Johnson, M.I. and Watson, P.J. 2014. Implementation fidelity of self-administered transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in patients with chronic back pain: an observational study. The Clinical journal of pain, 30 (3), pp. 224 - 231.
Watson, T. 2016. Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENS). [Online]. Electrotherapy on the Web. Available from: http://www.electrotherapy.org/assets/Downloads/TENS%20Jan%202016.pdf.