Treating Pain with a TENS Machine

A few weeks ago we ran a very successful blog on pain management.  One of the threads wasTENS machine about using TENS machine to help treat pain.  To read more of the blog please go to http://patienttalk.org/?p=225.

One of the big discussions was the use of TENS machine to treat pain. With one reader saying

“I had a friend that let me try his tens unit just when my nerve pain was starting. Within 5 minutes of using the tens unit my pain was gone. I then saw a PT Dr. who said the tens unit helps a whole bunch of patients. It is worth a shot, they are not that expansive and is better than medicine.”

On the other hand another reader recounted “no it does its makes it worst i use it to the tens unit and it doesnt do anything for my pain.”

So it seems that experiences are pretty divided.  Because of these we thought it would be interesting to focus on the use of TENS machines to treat pain.  We would love it if you could tell us about your experience of using TENS machines in the comments box below.

But what actually is a TENS machine and how does it work?  Well TENs machines, or to give then their full name Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machines use of electrical current to reduce pain.  Typically the current is applied by two or more electrodes on the skin.

Have you ever used a TENS machine?  How effective did you find it?

It would be great if you could share your knowledge with other readers of the blog.  To help you frame your contribution you might wish to consider the following questions:-

a)      What is your main medical condition which caused you pain?

b)      Have you ever tried a TENS machine?

c)       How effective was the TENS machine compared to other treatments?

d)      How did you use the TENS machine?  For how long and where on your skin for example?

e)      How did you obtain the TENS machine?  Is there any machine you would recommend?

 

Obviously these are just guidelines so please share anything you think may be of interest or useful to other readers in the comments box below.

Many thanks in advance for your contributions to the blog!

Vitamin D – what it does, why we need it and how we get it?

Sunshine - a great source of Vitamin D
Sunshine – a great source of Vitamin D

After a couple of days of London sun it is no surprise that a healthcare blogger’s thoughts turn to Vitamin D.

One of the first things to note about Vitamin D is that it is not strictly speaking actually a dietary vitamin.  This is because in theory humans can absorb Vitamin D from sunlight rather than diet.

So what does Vitamin D actually do?

Discovered by Edward Mellanby, a British physician, in 1922 who was looking for a cure for rickets or as it is formally known – Osteomalacia.  Because of this discovery rickets has been almost wiped out in the developing world.

One of its most important functions is to help the body absorb calcium.  It can also affect bone density causing osteoporosis or bone fractures.

P. Tuohimaaa, T. Keisalaa, A. Minasyana, J. Cachatc, A. Kalueffc  in their article ”Vitamin D, nervous system and aging”  published  in the  December 2009 edition of Psychoneuroendocrinology suggest

“Clinical data suggest that vitamin D3 insufficiency is associated with an increased risk of several CNS diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, seasonal affective disorder and schizophrenia.”

As well as concluding that a lack of vitamin D could cause premature ageing.

So all in all it seems pretty important to keep up our levels of Vitamin D.  But how is it best to do so?

Obviously most people can get Vitamin D from sunlight.  But with over exposure to the sun comes risks of developing medical conditions such as skin cancer.   Indeed in Australia, with no shortage of sunlight, it has been suggested that nearly a third of the population are Vitamin D deficient.

Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon are a great dietary source of vitamin D.  Eggs are another good way of racking up Vitamin D.

Finally of course you can take supplements.  These are available from most supermarkets and pharmacies.

But it is recommend by the UK’s NHS  website that “If you take vitamin D supplements, do not take more than 25 micrograms (0.025mg) a day, as it could be harmful. However, taking less than this is unlikely to cause any harm.”  It is suggested that excess vitamin D increases absorption of calcium which in turn can cause kidney damage.

With that short Vitamin D round up it is now over to you.  We would love it if you could share you experiences with Vitamin D deficiency to help other readers.

Any part of your story is of interest but you may wish to consider the following questions:-

  1. Have you ever suffered from Vitamin D deficiency?
  2. What medical problems did this Vitamin D deficiency cause?
  3. How did you treat the Vitamin D deficiency?
  4. How do you ensure that you get enough Vitamin D?

Please feel free to tell your story using the comments box below.  Feel free to share any links which you think might be of interest to other readers.

Thanks very much in advance for you contributions.

Anxiety – what are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?


Anxiety is a term which covers a variety of linked medical disorders.

anxiety
anxiety

Over the next few months we will explore them all in more detail.  But in the first instance we would just like to mention a few of the early signs and symptoms of anxiety.

a)      Dry mouth

b)      Irrational worrying

c)       Fast heart rate

d)      Nausea

e)      Feeling of panic

f)       Inability to relax or calm down

g)      Emotionally upset of distressed

h)      Sweating

i)        Trembling and shaking

 


If you are at all concerned that you may be suffering from anxiety it is important that you contact a medical practitioner as soon as possible.  It does not mean you suffer from anxiety but you should get it checked out.