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    Ten's unit use after cerivcal fusion
    Debsbears posted:
    I have heard many say that after a cervical fusion we should not use a Ten's unit. I am wonder why?

    My pain Dr and neurosurgeon both recommended it. I used it before the hardware was removed and I am now using it again so that I can eliminate my pain meds.

    Most of the pain is gone but due to the muscles being cut into for the 4th time I am sore and the Ten's unit does help to calm it down. The bad thing that I know of is that I can not do the X method due to the huge scar. The same electrod 2 pads have to be on the same side.
    bj1208 responded:
    hi Debsbears -

    here is a site and if you go down to the part labeled: HOW DOES TENS WORK and go down to last paragraph right above the CARE section.

    this states the TENS unit should not be placed on the neck area because of the nerves going up to the brain. it would appear that this could cause problems.


    here's a site from a TENS Unit sales site showing where the TENS Unit can be placed on the neck area - it depends on the nerves (2 different types) so it's important to know how and where to place them.

    I think you may want to research this on the internet. what I did was google: CAN YOU USE A TENS UNIT ON THE NECK and there were several sites populated.

    hope this helps a little - take care - Joy
    Debsbears replied to bj1208's response:
    Hi Joy and thanks for the sites. I have looked at them both and others.

    Like it says with careful positioning one can wear them on the neck. I was showed how to and where to apply the small pads. I use the Tens Unit like every other day which helps a great deal. Thanks again for all your help. Deb.
    medfaxx responded:
    Hi Debsbears,

    The depth of penetration is not sufficient to stimulate the "nerves going to the brain". Actually tens is used to facilitate faster bone healing so that advice is contrary to established use.

    Some neurosurgeons actually use a circumduction coil implanted in the casting material to increase union of the fused vertebra.

    Now do not use the tens unit on the front of the neck as there are reasons for that. Also I know of no reason the electrodes have to be on the same side. The essence in pain control is to hyper stimulate non-pain sensory fibers and that is done by proper electrode placement, not "only on same side".

    Hope this helps.
    Debsbears replied to medfaxx's response:
    Hi Medfaxx - When I had the 2nd cervical surgery to replace displaced screws caused from physical therapy I was given a bong growth stimulator that I wore for 4 hrs a day for 6 months. That is what help the cervical fusion. I know I would not use the electrodes on the front or sides of my neck just in the back where I can reach the pain.

    What also helps me is the deep muscle massages I get from PT. I have to wait to start that after my next appt. with the Dr on the 25th. They hurt but they work for loosening up the tight muscles.

    The reason why the PT people said not to use the X method of the tens unit placement is because of the large incision or scar. So that is why I use the left 2 electrodes on one side and the right 2 electrodes on the right side.

    In the past like for my knee I would cross over the incision with the electrodes. Forming the X one electrode would be placed top right bottom left the other electrode left top bottom right.

    Do you think I could still use this method for the neck?
    trs1960 replied to medfaxx's response:
    Its distrasction and to use the neuroligical sytem for something other than the pain signal. I read a great book authored by the inventors of the TENs. The bone stimulating was strictly an unintendend effect. The stimuliis can go very deep depending on the settings.

    Dr. Wall just started to shock himself to see what it would do as he couldn't test it on humans at first.

    Its a very interesting story how Drs Wall and Melzeff came about inventing the TENs unit.

    medfaxx replied to Debsbears's response:
    Hi Debsbears,

    There are some cautionary statements on putting the electrodes on the front of the neck and a potential problem, however to this date I've never heard of even one instance of harm. As a cautionary though I would place to side/back of neck.

    You are absolutely right though in what is called the "criss cross" method of placement or "X". The purpose of that placement is to literally cross the current flow in the tissue area where one is experiencing pain. The reason for the pattern is the tens machine has 2 channels, 2 electrodes per channel. When one channel is on the other channel is off. If the electrodes of a single channel are directly across from each other, ie both sides of your cervical area, then the flow of current is only between those two electrodes across the area between them. In other words the areas of pain are being missed by the current flow. Set up on an "X" and when one channel is off the other is on and the pain area is being treated basically 150 times per second ( highest rate of most tens units).

    Now I'm assuming you using the unit for pain, not faster tissue repair.

    Hope this helps.

    Debsbears replied to medfaxx's response:
    Hi Bobj

    Yes the tens unit is for pain control, not allowed to use in front of neck only the back of neck and I am to avoid the incision area. With all the hardware removed the only covering I have ove my spinal cord is the skin which was stitched together, so no X criss cross method either, placement on both sides of the scar.
    medfaxx replied to Debsbears's response:
    Hi Debs, tried to send reply earlier but something wrong on webmd server so lost it.

    If on sides of scar use long narrow electrodes, like a 1 x 4" to encase the total area of pain. Use high frequency, rate.

    This video may help explain better.

    trs1960 replied to medfaxx's response:
    Yes, actually like most medical advances the TENS is not used for its original intent. It has multiple uses and I was given one for spine work.

    Dr Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack invented the unit and its first intended use was to send stimuli to the brain so it would ignore pain. It based on the gate control theory which states that your brain will only process one pain signal. Now it's used for bone growth, muscle growth and I think I even saw a commercial where you could buy them to put on your stomach for that six pack look!

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