Suppose you have been experiencing pain deriving from conditions such as arthritis, overworked muscles, or other common causes. In that case, it is only natural for you to search for the next, most natural solution. Both TENS units and Biofreeze are natural, non-invasive solutions that can work extremely well if used properly; however, can you use them at the same time?
You can’t use lotions and creams such as Biofreeze together with a TENS unit because it can damage the electrodes pads and prevent them from working properly. However, after your TENS unit treatment, it is possible to apply Biofreeze and wait until it dries before treating the same area again.
Both Biofreeze and TENS units can be extremely effective in fighting muscular and joint pain, but using them correctly is key to get the results you wanted from your treatment. Learn more about how to use them below.
Using Both Biofreeze and a TENS Unit: Is It Possible?
Sometimes, due to the health condition you are dealing with, a single treatment for muscular and joints pain might not be enough. And, if you have been experiencing positive results from the use of Biofreeze and TENS units individually, you might be thinking about coupling them up.
While this might be an effective way to reduce the pain you are experiencing, it is worth understanding the contraindications and side effects of this decision. Here is what you need to know:
- Before using the TENS unit in the same area, applying Biofreeze can cause long-lasting damage to the electrodes pads, shortening their lifespan and preventing them from working properly – as specified by a TENS unit manufacturer.
- Similarly to Biofreeze, you should avoid using any lotions, powder, or creams in the same area you are about to apply the electrodes pads. This is because these products’ oil and moisture can interfere with the pads’ adhesiveness and conductive properties.
- You might decide to apply Biofreeze after having used the TENS unit. In this case, you should wait until the lotion is entirely dry and absorbed before using the electrodes pads again in the same location.
- To ensure that your skin is clear of damaging oil, sweat, and excessive moisture, you should wash, dry, and wipe with rubbing alcohol the portion of the skin on which you will apply the TENS unit electrodes pads.
- Since there are several TENS units in the market, it is recommendable to follow the instructions and indications for the package’s use.
- You should always speak to your doctor or other healthcare professional or GP before going ahead with the treatment. Consulting a professional is especially important if you are pregnant or suffering from preexisting health conditions.
Understanding a little more about these two types of treatment can help you decide on the best pain-relief method for you.
Biofreeze: What You Need to Know
Biofreeze is an over-the-counter pain-relief lotion that represents a safe, natural, and non-invasive alternative to other medical conditions. It is the best use in combination with hands-on treatments such as osteopathic or chiropractic care.
Learn more below or, if you are in a rush, check out this short introductory video:
What Is Biofreeze?
Sometimes referred to as cold therapy, Biofreeze is a topical analgesic that will need to apply in the area in which you feel pain. It contains natural compounds such as menthol, which speed up the process of soothing pain.
Biofreeze acts by overriding the signals that the brain sends through the spinal cord when we experience a type of trauma, which causes pain. Opting for cold therapy as pain relief can also help you reduce inflammation and swelling, thus providing a comprehensive solution.
Biofreeze is an FDA-approved, over-the-counter, non-addictive type of pain-relief treatment. You can use it for:
- Minor arthritis
- Muscles pain
- Joints pain
You can find it in the cream, lotion, roll-on, gel, spray, and patch version. The “Professional Line” is suitable for athletes who need immediate relief.
Also, Biofreeze yields the best results if used combined with other, more hands-on pain-relief treatments such as chiropractic care.
TENS Units: An Overview
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) treatment is a pain-relief method that releases mild electrical currents through conductive pads. The unit is composed of a small battery-operated device, connected through leads to small electrodes pads – which you will then apply in the area in which you feel pain.
While the science behind this method is relatively limited, users and healthcare professionals have been reporting that it can be safely used as a method to relieve pain. Before using a TENS unit, it is worth noticing that its effectiveness might vary depending on the condition you are trying to treat.
Ultimately, if the choice is between a medical treatment or using a TENS unit, this might be worth trying.
You can find out more about these machines in the video below:
What Is a TENS Unit?
A TENS unit is a battery-operated machine connected through leads to electrodes pads, which will need to be applied to the skin area where you feel pain. The device will send mild electrical impulses through the leads and across the pads, which will transfer it onto the muscles through the skin.
Setting up a TENS unit is easy: you will need to attach the electrodes pads to the skin and switch the machine on.
It is common for TENS users to feel a tingling sensation in the interested area, and it is crucial to avoid placing the electrodes on:
- Varicose veins
- Areas that you feel numb
- At the same time, on the chest and upper back
- Irritated or wounded skin
Once you have applied the pads following the manufacturer’s instructions, you can regulate the impulses’ strength. These will act by reducing the pain signals connecting your brain and spinal cord. In turn, this might help to reduce pain and relax the muscle.
You should speak to a healthcare professional, especially if:
- You are pregnant
- You have metal implants such as a pacemaker
- You suffer from heart problems
- You suffer from epilepsy
What Can You Use a TENS Unit For?
A TENS unit might be useful to reduce pain or muscle spasms if these are caused by conditions such as:
- knee pain
- neck pain
- back pain
- period pain
- pelvic pain caused by endometriosis
- sports injuries
Healthcare professionals might also decide to use a TENS unit to reduce the pain of labor.
What Can You Use a TENS Unit With?
If you wish to stick to alternative medicine options, you might decide to use a TENS unit alongside sessions with a chiropractor or an osteopath.
Oppositely, you might decide to use over-the-counter medications such as natural creams and oils to apply to your skin after a TENS unit treatment. Nonetheless, you should ensure that your skin is not sweaty, dirty, or oily before applying the electrodes pads again.
If you are in pain and looking for a natural, efficient, and non-invasive solution, TENS units and Biofreeze are viable options. Using Biofreeze before your TENS treatment is not recommended as the lotion can damage the pads and prevent them from working properly.
However, if you require an additional treatment after using your TENS unit, you can think about applying Biofreeze. Alternative therapies – such as chiropractic, osteopathic, and medical care – can also be used together with Biofreeze and TENS units.
- Mayo Clinic: Arthritis
- RSMedical: FAQ
- University of Minnesota: Gate theory
- FDA: Development & Approval Process | Drugs
- Biofreeze: Biofreeze Professional Products
- Harvard Health Publishing: Chiropractic care for pain relief
- Medical News Today: TENS unit: Benefit, side effects, and research
- University of IOWA: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS)
- NHS: Osteopathy