gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Acupuncture and TENS

April 28, 2006 @ 08:08 By: gordon Category: General

The tendonitis in my arm has been bothering me lately, so I went to the physiotherapist after work yesterday. Normally, part of the treatment is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). This involves applying two electrodes over acupuncture points on my arm and turning on the TENS machine. Basically, a small electric current passes along the nerves and the net effect is that my tendonitis bothers me less. It sort of tingles when it’s running and the TENS machine can send out different patterns of current to achieve different effects. Almost everyone I’ve talked to who has been hooked up to a TENS machine admits they’re a bit of a TENS junkie.

Needle in my elbowWell, a variation on this treatment is to use tiny acupuncture needles and hook up the electrodes directly to the needles. I’d never tried acupuncture before, but my physiotherapist suggested trying it so I took a deep breath and said “ok”. She took out these extremely thin tiny needles about the length of a wooden match and proceeded to gently tap them in, one by my elbow and the other in the fleshy part between my thumb and index finger. It didn’t hurt, though the one in my hand kind of tugged a bit when she put it in and an almost impreceptible sensation sort of bloomed outwards from where the needle was. She hooked up the machine to the needles and turned it on.

Hooked up with the current flowingIt felt similar to when the electrodes were stuck to my skin. I took a closeup picture of one of the needles and asked her to take one of my arm showing the needles and the wires — afterall, it’s not every day that one has needles stuck in their arm with electricity passing through them! The first couple of minutes were fine and then all of the sudden I broke out in a sweat and felt light-headed. I also felt like I was about to throwup or faint. So, I called her over and she removed them right away. After a couple of minutes I felt better, so we continued the treatment with the surface electrodes rather than the needles.

I know a number of people who have had the treatment and swear by it. Maybe it was a little too hot in the clinic or because I was slightly hungry or the fact that a pair of needles were stuck in my arm, or some combination of these factors that made me feel the way it did. I haven’t ruled out trying it again, but my arm is feeling better this morning. I’m hoping it was just a weird one-off flukey thing that caused me to feel the like I was going to hurl.

One Response to “Acupuncture and TENS”

  1. Shirley says:

    Well you did squirm when I said I self-injected for a short time.
    I’m thinking you were psychologically squimish (techinical term) hehehehe