By Andrew Liszewski
Since sitting in an office chair in front of a computer doesn’t seem to be the most natural position for the human body, it’s not surprising that so many people suffer from back pain these days. But instead of popping pain killers all day, or sitting on a large inflatable ball to ease the pain, you might want to see if your doctor will prescribe you a TENS unit from Empi.
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation, and that’s basically what the device does. It uses a set of electrodes attached to the skin that deliver up to 60 milliamps of current into the nerves where the pain occurs. This jolt serves to disrupt the pain signals coming from those nerves, and instead of hurting, the area ends up feeling tingly or even numb.
The output current can be adjusted, so you really only want to dial in enough juice for the pain to disappear, and it seems to include individual settings for the knees, shoulders, lower back & hips, upper back, and your hands & wrists. Normally I’d raise an eyebrow or 2 at an electronic device that promises relief from pain, but according to Joel Durham Jr. who writes for ExtremeTech, the TENS was quite effective at relieving his own back pain. And while this doesn’t seem like the kind of device you should use without the approval of your doctor, they do appear to be available for sale online to the general public, but expect to pay upwards of $800 if you’re interested.