There is no definite and general answer to the question where to place TENS unit electrodes. Case studies have shown that different placements of the Tens units have proven to be effective for different patients and for different symptoms. Keep this in mind that a proper placement will not only relieve pain but will also relieve it quickly. Whereas an undesirable placement may still relieve pain, but it will take a longer time to do that.
It will not be possible to cover all diagnosis in this brief article. Many common electrode sites are also used to treat different causes. For example, someone with a cervical arthritis condition would be advised to use the same placement as someone with cervical strain.
We will discuss here two different electrode placement guidelines. First, we will explain the 'electrode Placement Guidelines' and its uses, and then we will speak about different 'Placement by Diagnosis' treatments.
This discussion will hopefully help the reader to perform effective electrode placement.
Electrode Placement Guide Lines:
Staodyn Form 4405 is a tested and effective electrode placement method. The following are the guidelines for use for this treatment:
1. The red numbers in the chart refer to potential placement sites for electrode. These sites are generally called acupoints or trigger points. By diagnosis or etiology, they are charted along the sides of the body.
2. The blue numbers refer to a particular dermatome or a skin area. Sensory nerve distribution takes place in these skin areas. Each spinal level has its own nerve distribution area and is designated by a specific number. For instance, sensory nerve to the L4 nerve roots will be followed by pain in the L4 dermatome. There the pain penetrates to the spinal cord and gets transmitted to the brain. Dermatome electrode placement is generally effected on the appropriate spinal level by the side of the spine.
3. Follow the below guidelines for usage of this chart:
Determine the pain area through proper diagnosis and communication.
Use the red numbers from the chart to identify a possible placement site. Palpitate the placement sites designated by the red numbers to find a proper site for placement. A sensitive or tender response to palpitation indicates a potential electrode placement site.
Try to find three such electrode areas.
Then apply the electrodes to 2, 3, or 4 sensitive points. Other electrodes should be applied on the proper nerve roots. Generally, patients are advised to start with four electrodes for better results.
4. The list also provides a visceral pain section which will help you to place the electrodes on the appropriate nerve roots. Deep organ pain condition can be relieved by proper placement of electrodes on the right nerve roots.
Initial Placement Patterns
Electrode placement should be near the spine to treat radiating pain.
Electrodes should be placed near the pain area to treat distal arm or joint pain conditions.
Electrodes should be placed on spinal segments to treat deep pain of sclerotome or myotome origin.
Use 4-electrodes interferential placement to:
Bombard hip or knee like localized pain areas.
Get more effective pain relief in case 2-electrodes placement has failed to produce satisfactory results.