SWEET!!!!! OK.. Here's what I know of the TENS in as few words as I can manage.. TENS works best for localized pain as opposed to generalized pain. It won't really help for the overall achiness but it's FABULOUS for dealing with specific pain spots.. muscle cramps.. CMP trigger points.. things like that.
Generally the best way to use it is to target the same general points you would use in acupuncture or trigger point therapy. The idea is to work on the source of the pain not necessarily where it presents... For muscle cramps.. the source of the pain is the centre of the cramp mass. For maximum effectiveness in one area, use a technique called bracketing.. Here's how...
- Pinpoint the centre of the pain source.. if the area is hairy, CUT the hair short.. do NOT shave it!!
- Draw an imaginary x over the area about 6-8 inches long.. mark the endpoints in your head.. or with a marker if you think you will forget.
- At the points of the x is where you are going to place the electrodes
- Put the red and black electrodes from one lead at opposite ends of each line of the x.. not above or beside one another but diagonally
- Put the red and black electrodes from the other lead lead in similar fashion at the ends of the other imaginary line
- Clean the area where the pads will go with a little alcohol swab
- Prep your pads.. a little ultrasound gel on the centre of each pad
- Apply the pads and angle the leads in a way that they will not jam on things when you sit or move
If you have problems getting them to stick, use a wide medical tape with some stretch in it..
It's going to take some experimenting to find exactly the right program on your TENS. Try one setting.. low power level. Increase the power level just to the point of discomfort and then back off a couple of notches.
If you want to try a different setting, make sure you drop the power levels back to 0 before you do. That way you won't have to tear electrodes off in agony if the next setting causes you pain..
If you find that you aren't getting relief after about 10 minutes, see if you can find another trigger point that might be causing the localized pain. I find that if I use my fingers to find the triggerpoint that is causing the pain, I can get a really good TENS session and the relief lasts longer... at least a few hours.
Experiment.. it's yours to play with now.. Find what works best for you. Avoid using it near your heart for obvious reasons but other than that, the sky's the limit. Just remember to start with low power and find that spot where the pain kinda disappears. It's very cool when you get there. You can try different types of patches as well.. the most common (and least cost effective) are the stick on, throw away ones.. The two that I prefer are the carbon ones (you have to tape them on but they last forever) and the self sticking ones that you can re-activate by washing them. They're good for a couple of hundred uses before they turn into tape on pads.
I checked the settings that I use. The most effective general setting is a pulse rate of 80Hz and a width of around 180Ás on continuous mode. For sensitive areas, I modify the width to around 60Ás. Hope this gives you some good base settings.
Let us know how it goes brother!!!