TENS therapy can be life-changing. At one point a person suffering from chronic or acute pain may have had no solution but painkillers. These medications are often full of unwanted side effects that unpleasantly alter a person’s way of life. With TENS therapy, however, that same relief from pain can be had more immediately, more frequently, and more safely. In fact, TENS electrotherapy is so safe that it’s easy and effective to use from home with one exception: the prescription TENS unit.
Controversy over the Prescription TENS Unit
It’s easy to understand why some medical aids are made to be available through prescription only. In short, these prescription-only medications have been deemed potentially hazardous. The FDA has determined that these tools require the guidance and advice of a professional to be used safely. For instance, ibuprofen is considered safe enough to use for self-treatment. The product has been created in such a way that it’s easy for a consumer to purchase the medication, read the instructions, and take a dose that will not be harmful. On the other hand, something like Percocet is considered too powerful for casual, any-time use. Since its intensity cannot be controlled in homes, it’s not sold over-the-counter. It requires a medical professional’s instructions to be safe for use.
The same comparison rings true for the prescription TENS unit versus the over-the-counter TENS unit. Where the latter has been created in such a way that any user can self-treat safely, the prescription TENS unit is too powerful to be used safely without guidance. A prescription TENS unit will not have restrictions on the intensity settings. It won’t have premade, recommended therapy options. It may not be intuitive to use. These are all things you could expect to find in an OTC TENS unit such as one from iReliev. All of these things and more are what make the OTC TENS unit safe to use from home. The prescription TENS unit lacks these home-use guidelines and instructions, and therefore requires the advice of a professional to be used safely.
The issue is that dozens and dozens of these prescription TENS units are being sold on the internet as OTC devices. Discount websites are touting their efficiency without warning of their intensity. Buyers are more likely to not only get ineffective treatment, but to possibly exceed a comfortable intensity setting and get injured in the process. Read more about how prescription TENS units are being sold as over-the-counter units.
Benefits of the Prescription TENS Unit
This is not to say that all of the prescription TENS units are completely dangerous. Naturally, these units can be very effective, just as an OTC unit can be. In some cases, they may offer more power or different types of settings than an OTC unit would have. However, the diversity of a prescription TENS unit is part of its danger. If you’re looking to gain the benefits of a prescription TENS unit specifically, the best thing to do is visit a chiropractor or physical therapist who has one in his or her office, and can monitor your prescription-level treatment.
Is There Still a Need for the Prescription TENS Unit?
When it comes to getting effective treatment from a TENS unit, almost every user has reported efficient relief from OTC devices. Companies such as iReliev are working to provide units with powerful electrical impulses in a safe context. Specific settings are created to give a variety of treatments at various intensity levels. Users are able to work their way around the unit with intuitive familiarity that would never come with a professional grade prescription device.
So, if the new age of electrotherapy is centered around powerful and effective OTC devices, do we still need the prescription TENS unit? If you had to ask us, we would say that the days of prescription devices are gone. It’s best to stay with what’s effective, trusted, and safe: OTC TENS units.