TENS therapy: An option for fibromyalgia treatment?

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TENS therapy: An option for fibromyalgia treatment?

Question

Would a TENS unit help improve fibromyalgia pain?

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Answer

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy sometimes used to treat localized or regional pain. During TENS therapy, electrodes deliver electrical impulses to nearby nerve pathways — which can help control or relieve some types of pain.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on the body where slight pressure causes pain. Since the pain of fibromyalgia isn't limited to a specific area, TENS therapy isn't likely to be an effective fibromyalgia treatment.

Fibromyalgia is often treated with various medications to relieve pain and improve sleep. Options may include pain relievers, antidepressants and muscle relaxants. Exercise and stress reduction, as well as healthy sleep and eating habits, are important as well. Cognitive-behavioral therapy — working with a mental-health professional to learn effective ways of thinking about and dealing with your condition — also may be recommended.

If you have fibromyalgia and your treatment plan isn't relieving your pain, consult your doctor. He or she may adjust your medications or offer additional treatment options.

Last Updated: 2011-02-03
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