Ouch. That knee. Again. Knee pain is among the most common complaints a physical therapist addresses. One modality that has remained in my professional toolbox throughout four decades is TENS therapy for chronic and acute knee pain.
*OMRON sponsored this post. I received compensation and an Omron Focus TENS device for the purpose of this review. All stated thoughts and opinions are my personal and professional impressions of this product. (And always ethical.) In fact, I now use OMRON TENS and Blood Pressure Monitors in my House Calls practice. These are products I have come to trust! As a result of my now three-year association with this brand, I am now a proud affiliate member.
Acute and Chronic Pain
“Pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage (Finnerup, p. 1, 2019). It can be caused by trauma, overuse injury (such as “Runner’s Knee“), or disease (such as arthritis). Remarkably, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, “among American adults, approximately 25% have experienced knee pain that affects the function of their knee” (Mulcahy, 2020).
With millions in the US suffering from chronic and acute pain, recent statistics from the Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans show that more 78% seek alternatives to pain medications prescribed by their doctors (Gallup, 2020).
What is TENS?
TENS is an acronym for transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. It is a drug-free pain therapy that has been administered by physical therapists for over 40 years to alleviate chronic, acute and arthritic pain. (Like me!) TENS technology works by sending stimulating pulses across the surface of the skin and along nerve strands. Scientific research suggests that TENS may help block pain signals from reaching the brain, trigger the body to release endorphins which act as natural painkillers, and improve blood circulation.
Remember what your mother would tell you when you got a boo boo? Rub it. This is a perfect illustration for one of the ways that TENS works. Adding additional stimulus to an injured area ‘interrupts’ the cycle of pain.
Previously, TENS therapy use was limited to a healthcare professional’s office. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to send patients home knowing that they might not have access to pain relief when they most needed it- during activities of daily living. Luckily, OMRON was the first to develop FDA-cleared TENS devices for use at-home.
Focus TENS Therapy for the Knee
The latest OMRON innovation in the pain management category is Focus TENS Therapy for Knee. This new wearable device pairs advanced TENS technology with Sweep Waveform Therapy to alleviate chronic, acute and arthritic knee pain, stiffness and discomfort in the muscles and joints. Focus TENS Therapy for Knee uses a sleek, wireless design for on-the-go relief, and can easily fit into a tote, carry-on or briefcase.
One study showed that OMRON Focus TENS Therapy for Knee can reduce knee pain and improve ease of walking in adults with pre-radiographic knee osteoarthritis, when joint damage is not yet detected via x-ray examination. And since my personal favorite remedy for chronic and acute knee pain is MOVEMENT, this device allows for use during exercise and other fitness activities!
Focus TENS Therapy for Knee is customizable to address different personal preferences and pain levels. Users can select from one of 20 intensity levels for tailored drug-free pain treatment. Focus TENS Therapy for Knee is available in two sizes, medium and large. (This allows for proper fit of a variety of knee circumferences.) Because this device is designed as a wearable and wireless TENS unit, it allows for treatment while performing normal daily activities. The included self-adhesive knee pads are reusable up to 30 times, with the option to purchase additional pads.
OMRON is the #1 doctor and pharmacist recommended home blood pressure monitor brand on the market, and the first brand to develop FDA-cleared TENS therapy products for use at home.
OMRON Healthcare, Inc. is the global category leader in personal heart health and wellness technology for over 40 years. OMRON is the #1 doctor and pharmacist recommended home blood pressure monitor brand on the market. Additionally, it has the distinction of being the first brand to develop FDA-cleared TENS therapy products for use at home.
As I have often written, this company is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their health at home. They share my goal of allowing patients to live their healthiest life. Ultimately, devices that promote pain management and heart health technology improve quality of life!
Finnerup, N., et al. (2021, February 04). Nonnarcotic methods of Pain Management: NEJM. Retrieved February 14, 2021, from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1807061
Gallup, I. (2020, November 21). Americans prefer DRUG-FREE pain management over opioids. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://news.gallup.com/reports/217676/americans-prefer-drug-free-pain-management-opioids.aspx
Mulcahy, J. A. (Revised 2020, October 02). Physical therapy guide to knee pain. Choose PT. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-knee-pain
Rakel, B. A., Zimmerman, B. M., Geasland, K., Embree, J., Clark, C. R., Noiseux, N. O., . . . Sluka, K. A. (2014). Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the control of pain during rehabilitation after total knee arthroplasty: A randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Pain, 155(12), 2599-2611. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2014.09.025