Electrical Stimulation Therapies
The idea behind using electrical impulses isn’t particularly far-fetched when you appreciate that the body itself generates electrochemical impulses. Pain travels across these electrochemical routes. Obstructing pain signals with electrical impulses does work for some people. The evidence behind this technique is mixed.
But don’t panic, you don’t need to shock yourself silly with these options. In fact, the downside with external stimulation is that it may not work.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is one of the oldest methods of electrical nerve stimulation. Electrical impulses are transmitted through the skin by small pads attached to the body. The pads are connected by wires to an electrical source, usually a battery. Physio therapists or other rehab specialists regularly use TENS. They position the electrodes close to the site of pain, and can control the intensity of the electrical impulses. TENS works through stimulating the nerve fibres which turn off pain signals (you can find out more here). TENS may also release endorphins, a natural painkiller producer by the body. You can even purchase a TENS device for home use.
Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Percutaneous refers to under the skin. This device utilises needles as a pose to pads to deliver electrical impulses. It is supposed to work better as the electrical charges can more easily reach the nerves.
As the name indicates, a brace is designed support your body. These help support and correct your posture. For instance, a brace which helps keep your shoulders back and your upper spine erect can be helpful when spending long hours at a computer. Braces also restrict movement, which can be helpful if you’re recovering from surgery and you need stability to heal. Further to this, braces can also constrain muscles in your back if you are lifting. That way, the muscles constrict in a fixed plane and do not bulge out, causing abnormal strain.
In general, though, most doctors recommend bracing for only short periods of time. The goal is to train your muscles to support your spine as nature intended.